Trade rumors have followed Athletics pitcher Frankie Montas through the entire first half of the season, but so far they’ve been just that -- rumors.
With just over three weeks until MLB’s Aug. 2 trade deadline, it was anticipated Montas might have been dealt by now as reported trade partners made headlines and he continued to impress on the mound for Oakland.
An inflamed right shoulder forced Montas to exit his last outing on July 3 after just one inning, however, and he’ll miss his next start after receiving a cortisone shot. But that isn’t why the ace hasn’t been moved yet, A’s general manager David Forst recently told The Athletic’s Melissa Lockard.
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Forst explained that the A’s don’t feel pressured to trade Montas unless the price is right and it makes sense for the team, which has sent most of its big-name stars to other organizations as part of a fire sale that began last winter.
“I think the best way to answer that is he’s still here,” Forst told Lockard, who had asked if there’s less panic to trade Montas now since he won’t be a free agent after this season, and if the A’s would be more inclined to keep him if his new shoulder issue decreases his value on the market.
“There’s no panic. We didn't trade him in spring training because there wasn’t a trade that made sense for us,” Forst continued. “That will continue to be the case. Whether it’s at the deadline or next offseason or whatever, there’s not a feeling at all that in the next 30 days we have to trade Frankie Montas.”
Montas’ 3-9 record on the hill for Oakland this season doesn’t reflect the job he’s done, compiling a 3.26 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 100 strikeouts through 96 2/3 innings. An MRI after his early exit confirmed last Tuesday that there’s no structural damage in his inflamed throwing shoulder, and he’s now listed as day-to-day.
“He’s been exactly what we hoped for when we held on to him in the spring, and I expect he’ll be out there again sooner rather than later,” Forst told Lockard. “Like you said, the MRI came back pretty positive. So I’m looking forward to him pitching again for us soon.”
Before his injury, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the St. Louis Cardinals were the “favorite” to land Montas in a trade.
Whether or not the A’s do decide to move Montas, Forst’s comments make it clear the decision will be based on what the front office believes is best for the team.