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Royals reportedly pursuing A’s pitcher Frankie Montas

The 28-year old right-hander was a 3.7 rWAR pitcher last year.

Oakland Athletics v Seattle Mariners Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The Royals are reportedly pursuing a trade for Oakland right-hander Frankie Montas, according to separate reports from Ken Rosenthal and Jon Heyman. The 28-year old Montas won 13 games with a 3.37 ERA in 187 innings, finishing fourth in the league with 207 strikeouts. Montas would have two more years of club control before becoming eligible for free agency after the 2023 season.

Montas was originally signed by the Red Sox as an amateur out of the Dominican Republic. but was traded to the White Sox, Dodgers, and finally the Athletics where he blossomed. Over the last four seasons he has a 3.57 ERA with 413 strikeouts in 401 innings. He missed time in 2019 with an 80-game suspension for testing positive for Ostarine, a banned substance. He struggled with a 5.60 ERA in the shortened 2020 season, but bounced back last year to have his best season, finishing fifth in the American League with 4.1 fWAR, and earning Cy Young Award votes.

Earlier today, the Royals shipped starting pitcher Mike Minor to the Cincinnati Reds for reliever Amir Garrett. The Royals will reportedly kick in $500,000 to send to the Reds and will pick up the $1 million buyout on Minor’s 2023 mutual option, but overall the deal should save them around $8 million, enough to pursue another pitcher.

It is not clear what the A’s would be looking for in return, but it is clear they are looking to rebuild with young prospects. Already this week they have traded away pitcher Chris Bassitt, first baseman Matt Olson, and third baseman Matt Chapman, receiving ten players, all either minor leaguers or with less than a year of service time. The Royals have a deep farm system, ranked #5 by MLB Pipeline with strong depth at pitcher, catcher, first base, and middle infield. To get a pitcher of Montas’ quality would probably require at least one of the top Royals prospects, plus two other solid minor leaguers, if not more. The Twins, White Sox, and Yankees are also reportedly pursuing Montas, so the Royals will have to top any of their offers.