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Elephant Rumblings: Who would be Frankie Montas’ trade partner?

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Tampa Bay Rays v Oakland Athletics Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Happy Thursday, Athletics Nation!

We’re nearly two months removed from the post-lockout flurry of trades that sent away four of the most notable A’s before the 2022 MLB season began, and since then there has been one name bandied about to be the next A’s trade piece. Frankie Montas has been leading the Athletics’ through 7 turns of the rotation so far, and has remained one of their most reliable arms as he leads the American League in innings pitched with 43.

Montas’ high profile and consistent results mean that trade talks have followed through the first month and a half of the season. There’s still another year of team control for Frankie, and while the A’s have been eager to ship away players entering the expensive years of arbitration, Montas is only due for a bit over $5M this year. Still on the higher end of a stripped down A’s roster, Frankie’s fee will assuredly rise after this year. So the thought stands that it may still be prudent to trade the extra team control for a bigger return of near-MLB ready players. Montas being traded seems like an inevitability; in an anonymized poll of MLB GMs Montas was voted the most likely player in baseball to be on the move.

But where would Frankie Fastball end up? The Athletic’s Jim Bowden sees Montas moving to Tampa Bay this month, in exchange for MLB-ready fielder Vidal Bruján and Low-A pitcher Cole Wilcox. Wilcox could be the bigger piece the A’s seek for Montas, as he was a key piece of the Blake Snell deal before last season. Wilcox also is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery, which is a gamble the A’s have been willing to take with trade recipients like Gunnar Hoglund.

Alternatively, as covered by Bleacher Report’s Zachary D. Rymer, there’s been a squad of teams that seem to have been attached to Montas since March. There were reportedly talks with the White Sox in April, but the southside Chicago team balked at the A’s asking price. It seems that every week there’s a new article or blog post about how the Yankees have been eyeing Montas, though they seem to be getting on just fine with their current rotation. The Kansas City Royals and Tigers have also been in the Montas whispers, and although neither team are pack-leading competitors, either would have a bevy of sought-after returns for the Athletics.

My guess is that it comes down to the first one of these teams to face a big enough injury to a starter before the trade deadline. With the amount that the Yankees have come up in Montas rumours this year, it may be easy to expect a Sonny Gray-esque deadline deal with the New York club.

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