The 2022 season has begun, but in this weird year, that doesn’t necessarily mean the offseason is over yet.
The Oakland A’s are “very close” to trading pitcher Frankie Montas to the Chicago White Sox, reports Mike Rodriguez of Univision on Monday evening. Nothing has been finalized or announced at this time as negotiations continue.
The connection between the two teams is not a new one. The White Sox were rumored to be one of many clubs interested in Oakland’s available starting pitchers last month, but they didn’t end up landing any of them, most recently missing out when Sean Manaea went to the Padres a week ago. Now Chicago’s need has suddenly increased even further, as injuries have quickly piled up in their own rotation, including knee surgery for Lance Lynn and abdominal tightness for Lucas Giolito.
Prying away Montas will not be easy, though. His trade value is lofty coming off a great 2021 campaign, with a relatively modest salary, and with an extra year of team control next summer. Furthermore the A’s have all the leverage, because they can keep him until next winter if they want, while the contending Sox have a time-sensitive need right now at a moment early in the season when other comparable stars aren’t available.
Per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Oakland is aiming for the moon. They want young slugger Andrew Vaughn in return, which would be an enormous prize. Vaughn was a mega-prospect who debuted last summer with a solid rookie year, and he’s considered one of the potential rising stars in the sport at age 24.
However, that asking price is the sticking point right now. Rodriguez reports that the White Sox “[don’t seem] to like the idea” of parting with Vaughn in the deal, which is “the only thing that has stopped the trade,” but that the “conversation [is] still going.”
The A’s began a rebuild last month after the lockout ended, shipping away Chris Bassitt, Matt Olson, and Matt Chapman in the span of a week and then Manaea toward the end of spring training, all in exchange for a dozen new prospects. Will they continue the sale by sending Montas to Chicago, where he made his MLB debut for the White Sox in 2015? And if so, can they manage to bring Vaughn to the Bay Area, where he was born and raised in Santa Rosa and went to school at UC Berkeley? Stay tuned to find out!