UPDATE: Frankie Montas will have surgery on Feb. 21, Aaron Boone said.
The Yankees have kept a lot of updates pertaining to Frankie Montas’ shoulder under wraps, but when Matt Blake was asked about a Montas update, it seems they’re still uncertain as to what’s the next step for the former Oakland A’s ace.
While the initial reaction will be, “why wait this long?” it’s important to remember that it’s a difficult call to make regarding surgery. We’ve seen this with DJ LeMahieu, where surgery was on the table, but the Yankees had to wait and see before making a decision. It’ll take time for them to figure out his injury situation, but so far there isn’t much of a conclusion to draw other than the fact that Frankie Montas cannot be relied upon to return for now.
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How the Yankees Can Hold Their Rotation Afloat
The Yankees getting positive injury news on Nestor Cortes should help simmer down much concern, especially considering that Montas was coming into the season as the 5th starter. The Yankees have options internally that can be solid 5th starters, most notably Domingo German and Clarke Schmidt. Due to not having MiLB options, it seems like German is going to win the job by default, but I’ve been adamant that Clarke Schmidt is the better pitcher. Regardless of my personal opinions, it’s hard to ignore that German held his own as the Yankees’ 5th starter last season (3.61 ERA) despite lowered strikeout rates.
It’ll be an interesting battle to watch unfold in Spring Training, and while the likes of Jhony Brito and Randy Vasquez will get reps as well, it’s unlikely the Yankees hand the 5th SP job to a rookie when they have veteran options in-house. The last remaining notable starter on the market was Michael Wacha, who recently signed a deal with the San Diego Padres. While the Yankees may have considered looking at another SP option, they’re already in a financial crunch with the Steve Cohen tax, and left field seems to be a much larger priority right now.
The Yankees certainly have the pitching depth to hold their own without Montas, as if German falters, they have Schmidt, and during that time, we could see some arms in Triple-A get more reps and stay ready for a potential spot start. Pitching has never been an issue under the Matt Blake and Sam Briend Yankees, so I wouldn’t anticipate that changing this year, either. It’s not ideal that Montas could potentially be seriously injured, but ultimately they’re going to be just fine for now. If anything, they can always re-evaluate the rotation at the deadline, where Cashman has shown plenty of aggression in moving big-time prospects for high-level talent.
Hopefully, the imaging for Frankie Montas goes well, and he’s able to rejoin the team before the deadline. There’s a reason the Yankees traded for him, and if he comes back healthy, they’ll have a rotation that could be all-time great. The good news is that Matt Blake also said that he believed any potential surgery wouldn’t end his season, but it’s hard to imagine he’d be able to come back in time to make much of a regular-season impact. It’s hard to really project or guess anything for now, as the information we currently have isn’t enough to know for sure.
It’s an upward battle for Franke Montas, as injuries have been the largest factor in his struggles with the Yankees. Entering his free agent season, this decision is going to have massive long-term consequences on his potential market. For now, the Yankees are going to have to just wait and see with Montas.