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A’s trade rumors: Sean Manaea and Frankie Montas might stay after all?

Shifting tides in the rumor mill

Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s already traded away three of their biggest stars this month as they begin another rebuild, and there are still two more on the block. However, the latest rumors around pitcher Sean Manaea and Frankie Montas have cooled off.

MLB insider Jon Heyman reported Wednesday afternoon that “teams are getting the impression the A’s now may well hold onto” Manaea and Montas, and that it’s “quite possible they keep both — into the season anyway.”

The future is especially uncertain for Montas. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that “Oakland currently is focused” on potential Manaea deals, while “waiting to decide how to proceed” on Montas.

This is quite the shift in tune. The A’s came out of the lockout hot on the trade market, shipping out Chris Bassitt, Matt Olson, and Matt Chapman within a five-day span. It was beginning to sound inevitable that Manaea and Montas would soon follow, but perhaps that isn’t such a sure thing after all.

Of course, there’s still time for the tide to change again and a deal to come together. Even though it’s been a week since the Chapman swap, and spring games are well underway, there are two more weeks to go until Opening Day and many teams are playing catch-up to finalize their rosters. At the very least it’s notable that no more trades have happened yet, even before today’s reports of waning rumors.

At last word, possible suitors for the two pitchers included the Yankees, Tigers, Royals, Twins, White Sox, Rays, and Cardinals.

Analysis

As for the actual idea of keeping them to begin the season, there’s a mixed bag of logic. Obviously we’d like all our favorite stars to stay here forever, but let’s consider how the situation affects the current rebuild in purely transactional terms. The Matts and Bassitt are already gone, so let’s not stop halfway now.

There’s a strong argument for holding onto Montas, if you believe that his phenomenal work in the second half of last summer was the beginning of a long-term breakout that could skyrocket his value. He also has another year of team control in 2023, so there’s another chance to shop him next winter. Cashing in now while he’s hot would make plenty of sense, but there are compelling reasons to wait if you’re feeling lucky.

On the other hand, Manaea has less margin for upside because he’s entering his final year before free agency, and his lengthy injury history adds extra risk to his immediate future. He’s already good now, and as the season progresses his service time will dry up and he’ll become a quick rental, so it would be tough to substantially increase his value much before July — and that’s assuming he stays healthy. The reason to keep him is because you don’t think you’re being offered fair value right now.

As a final consideration, perhaps there’s a benefit to retaining one stud atop the rotation to anchor the group, even during a rebuilding year. If so then Montas would make more sense because there should be more chances to trade him in the future, and indeed it sounds like the A’s are prioritizing a Manaea deal first.

And if both of them stick around, and we’re stuck watching two of our favorite players in recent memory continue to play ball wearing green-and-gold? Well that wouldn’t be so bad either. Stay tuned to find out what happens!

Poll

What should the A’s do?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Trade Manaea and Montas now
    (272 votes)
  • 41%
    Trade Manaea now, keep Montas
    (323 votes)
  • 1%
    Trade Montas now, keep Manaea
    (12 votes)
  • 21%
    Keep them both for now!
    (163 votes)
770 votes total Vote Now