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Why Yankees Didn't Trade For Luis Castillo at Deadline, Acquiring Frankie Montas Instead

Inside The Pinstripes on FanNation 1/23/2023 Max Goodman
© Provided by Inside The Pinstripes on FanNation

New York wasn't willing to include this prospect in trade talks with the Reds, according to an MLB insider

The Frankie Montas trade hasn't worked out for the Yankees so far.

Not at all.

Montas struggled mightily over his first eight starts with New York after coming from the Athletics at the trade deadline in a six-player swap including some of the Yankees' top pitching prospects. Then, he landed on the injured list with the same issues in his shoulder that raised some red flags earlier that summer when he was still in Oakland.

To make matters worse, Montas won't be healthy to begin the 2023 season. The right-hander is expected to miss the first month of the year with more inflammation in his shoulder. That puts the Yankees in a tough spot to begin the campaign, adding a question mark in the back end of their starting rotation.

There's a chance that Montas can bounce back when he returns from this shoulder setback, distancing himself from any injury concerns while pitching at the level he showed that he's capable of with the Athletics earlier in his career. 

What makes this entire situation even more frustrating for the Yankees, and their fans, is the fact that Montas was New York's second choice last summer.

New York preferred to trade for Reds ace Luis Castillo, the best pitcher available at the deadline. Castillo ultimately went from Cincinnati to the Mariners, partly because of New York's hesitancy to include a certain top prospect in their trade package for the ace.

"They put Jasson Dominguez in their trade proposal [for Castillo], but refused to include prized shortstop prospect Anthony Volpe," wrote USA Today's Bob Nightengale on Sunday. "The Yankees’ loss was the Seattle Mariners’ gain, with Castillo now their ace."

Volpe is the No. 1 prospect in New York's organization, the fifth-best prospect in all of baseball, per MLB Pipeline. He's expected to make the jump from Triple-A to the big leagues at some point this year, set to compete for an opportunity at shortstop this spring with fellow top prospect Oswald Peraza and veteran Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

Nightengale is in line with what Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported after the Yankees missed on Castillo. New York was unwilling to part with Volpe, trying to build a package around Peraza. 

Cincinnati ended up acquiring a huge haul from the Mariners, including several top prospects. The trade has worked out for both sides to this point as well. Castillo was dominant after the deadline deal, finishing the year with a 3.17 ERA in 11 starts while helping Seattle advance to the playoffs. 

Castillo signed a five-year, $108 million extension with the Mariners in September. Montas, meanwhile, will become a free agent after the 2023 season. 


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