NEW YORK – The Yankees bolstered their pitching for the stretch run and playoffs, obtaining starter Frankie Montas and reliever Lou Trivino from the Oakland Athletics on Monday for four prospects.
Montas, a 29-year-old right-hander, is 4-9 with a 3.18 ERA in 19 starts, including a 2.76 ERA since the start of May. He has 109 strikeouts and 28 walks in 104 2/3 innings.
“His level of talent, especially with how he’s pitched the last couple years, just excited to get him in the mix,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He’s got the full arsenal and stuff you look for top of the rotation guy. Gone out and proved last couple years he is that kind of caliber pitcher.
New York sent Oakland 26-year-old rookie left-hander J.P. Sears along with three minor leaguers: 24-year-old left-hander Ken Waldichuk, 23-year-old right-hander Luis Medina and 22-year-old infielder Cooper Bowman.
“I think we got three pitchers who are very close to if not already major league ready,” Oakland general manager David Forst said.
Earlier in the day, the Yankees got Scott Effross, a 22-year-old rookie reliever, from the Chicago Cubs for Hayden Wesneski, a 24-year-old minor league right-hander.
Montas has a 35-32 record with a 3.73 ERA for the Chicago White Sox (2015) and Oakand (2017-22). He was suspended for 80 games in June 2019 for a positive test for Ostarine, a banned performance-enhancing substance used to increase stamina. Montas attributed to the test result to a contaminated supplement he said was purchased over-the-counter at a nutrition store.
While the Yankees ended July an AL-best 69-34, they were 8-11 since July 8. Montas joins a rotation headed by All-Stars Gerrit Cole (9-3, 3.30 ERA) and Nestor Cortes (9-3, 2.53 ERA) that has faltered of late.
Left-hander Jordan Montgomery is 0-2 with a 5.36 ERA in his last eight starts and right-hander James Taillon is 1-1 with a 5.04 ERA in his last five. Luis Severino has not pitched since July 13 because of a lat strain and was moved to the 60-day injured list Monday along with right-handed reliever Miguel Castro, out since July 10 with a strained right shoulder. Going into Monday night's series opener against Seattle, Domingo Germán had an 8.22 ERA in his first two starts after recovering from a right shoulder impingement.
Montas left a July 3 start at Seattle after 13 pitches with shoulder tightness — his velocity was down about 3 mph. He returned July 21 and has a 2.25 ERA in starts against Detroit and Houston.
”I think we’re comfortable with where he’s at shoulder-wise," Boone said.
New York also acquired outfielder Andrew Benintendi from Kansas City last week, a move that has the Yankees looking to trade strikeout-prone Joey Gallo.
Montas has a $5,025,000 salary this year, is eligible for arbitration this winter and can become a free agent after the 2023 season. His fastball averages 96 mph.
Trivino, a 30-year-old right-hander, is 1-6 with a 6.47 ERA — double his 2021 figure — and 10 saves in 13 chances. Right-handed batters are hitting .289 against him this year while lefties are hitting .392 with nine walks in 60 plate appearances.
“Little bit down year statistically but we don’t think it lines up with what we’re seeing on some underlying things and who we think he is," Boone said. “He’s been a very good reliever for them on some playoff-caliber teams.”
Houston’s Jose Altuve is 3 for 16 against Trivino and Alex Bregman is 2 for 10.
Trivino has a $3 million salary, is eligible for arbitration ahead of the 2023 and 2024 seasons, then can become a free agent.
Following the end of the lockout this March, Oakland traded first baseman Matt Olson to Atlanta, third baseman Matt Chapman to Toronto and right-hander Chris Bassitt to the New York Mets. The A's opened the season with the lowest payroll in the major leagues at $48 million and cut about $3 million more over the rest of the season by trading Montas and Trivino.
Oakland is an AL-worst 39-65. Trying to get government approvals for a new ballpark in downtown Oakland, the A’s last made the playoffs in 2020, beating the Chicago White Sox in the wild-card round before losing to Houston in the Division Series.
Oakland’s average home attendance of 8,475 is last in the major leagues.
“This is another obstacle we're throwing at that group, but I've been very pleased with the effort and how these guys have responded to the opportunity that's been put in front of them.” Forst said.
Sears is 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA in two starts and five relief appearances with the Yankees. He is 1-1 with a 1.67 ERA in nine starts and two relief appearances at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Bowman, a fourth-round draft pick last year who signed for a $353,000 bonus, hit .217 this year for Class-A Hudson Valley with eight homers, 35 steals and 35 RBIs.
Medina is 4-3 with a 3.38 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 72 innings this season at Double-A Somerset.
Waldichuk, a fifth-round selection in 2019, is 6-3 with a 2.71 ERA in 116 strikeouts in 76 1/3 innings for Triple-A Scranton and Double-A Somerset this year.
‘It’s been clear now for a while obviously with the moves that we made in spring training that this is the direction we were heading come this deadline," Forst said. “I expect to look back on all of that and hopefully see where a lot of the next group of Oakland A's major leaguers came from.”
The Yankees also optioned right-hander Clarke Schmidt to Scranton and promoted right-hander Carlos Espinal from the RailRiders.
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