Reds add more pitching in deal with Montas (source)

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Joined: Nov 2016

December 30th, 2023

CINCINNATI — Seeking to contend for the National League Central title and a return to the playoffs, the Reds have made finding a veteran starting pitcher a top priority this offseason. 

The quest brought Cincinnati to free agent right-hander Frankie Montas.

Multiple sources confirmed to on Saturday that Montas and the Reds have agreed to terms on a one-year, $16 million contract, pending a physical. Club officials have yet to announce the acquisition. 

Montas and Martinez bolster what had been a young starting staff that included Hunter Greene, Graham Ashcraft, Andrew Abbott, Nick Lodolo and Brandon Williamson. None of the Reds starters returning from 2023 had more than two seasons of big league service. 

While Montas, who turns 31 in March, has a decent track record, there is also some risk involved. He is coming off a rocky 2023 season with the Yankees that was almost completely lost to a right shoulder injury, which required arthroscopic surgery in February. Montas ultimately made just one appearance in the Majors, throwing 1 1/3 innings out of the bullpen in the Yanks’ 161st game of the season.

Montas’ last full season was his breakout 2021 campaign for Oakland, in which he went 13-9 with a 3.37 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 207 strikeouts in 187 innings, earning him a sixth-place finish in AL Cy Young voting. In ‘22, he made 19 starts for the A’s, posting a 3.18 ERA with a 1.14 WHIP and 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings before being traded to the Yankees with fellow right-hander Lou Trivino.

Montas never seemed to find his footing in New York, however, as he made just eight starts down the stretch in 2022, pitching to a 6.35 ERA with a 1.54 WHIP and 7.5 K/9 before being placed on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation, the same injury that would require surgery the following spring.

When healthy, Montas’ unique repertoire can generate a well-above-average chase rate, owing primarily to his splitter, against which opposing batters had an astronomical 51.4% strikeout rate (92 strikeouts in 179 plate appearances) in 2021. His four-seamer, which averaged 96.1 mph in 2022, has also historically been a bona fide strikeout pitch, with 56 of his 142 strikeouts in ’22 coming against it.

During their efforts to land a starting pitcher, the Reds were involved in talks with free agents Sonny Gray and Wade Miley but missed out on both former Cincinnati pitchers. They also had interest in Rays starter Tyler Glasnow, who was traded to the Dodgers.

Now the Reds will look to Montas. If he’s healthy, he could give them a rotation which could help contend for the postseason.


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