Landing Spots for Frankie Montas, Luis Castillo & Tyler Mahle at the MLB Trade Deadline

The MLB lockout put a damper on the offseason as it drastically shrunk the window for preseason transactions. On the bright side, it has pushed more prominent names on the hot stove back onto the market for the impending MLB trade deadline on August 2nd. Here we’re going to analyze the hottest starting pitchers on the market and find a potential suitor for each of them.

Frankie Montas, Oakland A’s

The Oakland A’s right-hander has had trade rumors swirling around him for quite some time. It was shocking not to see Montas leave Oakland during this year’s brief offseason as the A’s had a fire sale where they unloaded talents like Chris Bassitt and Matt Olson. However, being the last one left in town has not hurt Montas’s performance, as he’s been lights out this year. He currently holds a 3.26 ERA, and 1.00 WHIP on top of the 100 strikeouts he’s amassed through 16 starts this season. 

Montas is due to be a free agent in 2024 and has a team-friendly AAV of five million, which means it will take quite a package to acquire him. Teams such as the New York Mets and Chicago White Sox have already been reportedly scouting Montas, and each of those clubs has the prospect depth to make a deal happen. One outside team that could be in the mix for Montas is the St. Louis Cardinals. St. Louis looks to be locking into a divisional race with the Milwaukee Brewers, and with Jack Flaherty still having shoulder issues, the Cardinals need an ace to lead them. 

Luis Castillo & Tyler Mahle, Cincinnati Reds

These two frontmen of the Cincinnati Reds rotation have been in trade rumors since last year’s deadline. Mahle had a breakout campaign in 2021 and has continued to build on it this year as his strikeouts are up and his xERA is over an entire run lower than his actual ERA. Likewise, Castillo has bounced back from a difficult 2021 and now holds a 2.92 ERA through 12 starts this season. 

Castillo and Mahle are both on team-friendly contracts, each set to be free agents in 2024. Reports in May had the Reds open to dealing both of them. However, like Frankie Montas, acquiring either will take a hefty package. The Mets, San Francisco Giants, and Los Angeles Dodgers have all been linked to the Reds’ young arms. We know the Dodgers are not afraid to pull the trigger and sell prospects after their massive deal to acquire Max Scherzer and Trea Turner last season. New York has Scherzer back, and Jacob deGrom is set to return soon, so their motivation to purchase another starter is questionable. However, the Giants are certainly in the mix as acquiring one of Castillo or Mahle will give San Francisco a formidable trio with Carlos Rodon and Logan Webb in the rotation.