Yankees: 3 options to replace Frankie Montas in the starting rotation

Jesus Luzardo, yankees
Sep 11, 2022; Miami, Florida, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jesus Luzardo (44) throws a pitch against the Miami Marlins in the first inning at loanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

With the recent Frankie Montas news, there have already been tons of fans wondering whether or not the team should pursue a pitcher to supplement the loss. Though the Yanks will most likely roll with the tandem of German and Clarke Schmidt, there are some potential guys out there for them to look into acquiring. The team also has a good amount of depth that could come in handy during this season, as both Jhony Brito and Randy Vazquez may see more opportunities with the injury to Montas. 

However, why not have some fun and think of a few potential arms the team may express interest in? For starters, the sad thing is that the most likely guy the organization would pursue, Pablo Lopez, has already been dealt to the Twins for Luis Arraez. There are still a flurry of arms out there that could potentially be available, but it remains to be seen whether or not these teams would be willing to move them. On top of that, I’m on the keep Gleyber in pinstripes train, and if we have to deal him, that will mean we need to get a top-tier starter back in return. 

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Three options for the Yankees to replace Frankie Montas:

Option #1: Buy high on Jesus Luzardo

A few guys that come to mind are any of the Marlins pitchers, should they be looking to move more, specifically Jesus Luzardo. Luzardo would cost a decent package as he isn’t a FA until 2027 and is still just 25-years old. I imagine the Marlins would want a large package back for the Jesus Lizard, and one headlined by, say Oswald Peraza could get the deal done. I’m not saying the organization should do it, just that that’s one of the options. 

Luzardo is coming off one of, if not the best, season of his career. He tossed 100.1 innings with a 3.32 ERA and a 3.12 FIP. To pair with those elite numbers, he struck out 10.76 batters per nine, walked just 3.14 — ha, Pi — and posted a mere 0.90 HR/9. He’s continuing to improve from the down year he has with the A’s that saw him dealt for half a season of Marte, which, looking back, was an atrociously bad move by Oakland. He would immediately slot into the rotation and would give the Yanks an arm for a few years, not just to win this season. 

Option #2: Buy low on Tarik Skubal

Another guy that I could see them look into is Tarik Skubal of the Detroit Tigers. I’ve been big on the Skubal train for some time now, and this may be the best time to pull the trigger to acquire him. He broke out in a huge way last season before he was shut down with a flexor tendon issue, which will keep him out for the beginning of ‘23. The belief is that he’ll be able to return sometime midway through the season, and the Yanks could likely get him at his lowest value due to his injury. 

Skubal is just 26-years old, and he tossed 117.2 innings last year en route to a 3.52 ERA with a 2.96 FIP. He has a phenomenal combination of sinker-slider and also mixes in a fastball and the occasional splitter to keep hitters off balance. He’s certainly ace quality, and he would immediately add more talent and skill to the Yanks’ rotation. Like Luzardo, he’s coming off a career year, and also, like him, he’s a big lefty with superb breaking stuff. Though the Tigers likely won’t move him while he’s injured, a good package could change their mind. 

Skubal has been someone I’ve wanted for a while, and adding him into the roto would be a match made in heaven. Having he, Rodon, and Cortes would mean that the Yanks have the best rotation of lefty arms in baseball. Add in Severino and Cole, and now they’re cooking with fire. There are still a multitude of arms out there that they could look into, including the possibility of picking up an arm that is still on the FA market — though there aren’t many good ones left. 

Option #3: Hold onto assets and pick up a veteran on a minimum deal, say Chris Archer

The one guy that comes to mind that wouldn’t require any capital to acquire is Chris Archer. Archer isn’t what he used to be, that’s for sure, but he still isn’t a complete liability on the bump. He tossed 102.2 innings for the Twins last season in what was a bounce-back year for him, considering he missed all of 2020 and majority ‘21 with injury. Though his ERA and FIP aren’t great, 4.56 & 4.49, respectively, he has seen a huge uptick in his GB% (up to 43.7% from 2021’s 31.5%). On top of that, he posted the lowest HR/9 since 2015 lag season, with a 1.05. 

Archer would also come extremely cheap, as the 34-year-old veteran would likely sign for pennies on the dollar. He could be a sneaky acquisition for Matt Blake to work his magic on, and the Yanks could finally say they have Chris Archer. It may not be the best move to many fans, but last year could be the step in the right direction that he needed to right the ship. The few seasons prior, specifically with the Pirates, were dreadful for him. He was able to pitch a healthy year’s worth with Minnesota finally, and should certainly sign a deal before Opening Day rolls around. 

There are a multitude of options out there should the organization choose to pursue one. It remains to be seen how the Yanks want to pivot off this injury to Montas, but the most likely option seems to be them riding with what they have internally. For all we know, there could also be some sort of move being worked on behind the scenes as well. It is quite unlikely, but maybe they strike a deal with the Pirates and snag both Reynolds and Mitch Keller in a package deal, thus filling a few needs at once. 

I also wouldn’t be shocked if the Chicago White Sox decide to blow it up if they get off to a slow start come deadline time, and a potential acquisition of Lucas Giolito would be a great pickup. Spring training is here, and pitchers and catchers have now officially reported to camp. These next few weeks should be fun to watch develop, and I can’t wait to see what potential moves the Yankees entertain.