Should the Orioles take a flier on this free agent pitcher?

This free agent coming off a major injury could be an interesting add for the Orioles

Sep 9, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA;  New York Yankees starting pitcher Frankie Montas (47) pitches in a game against the Tampa Bay Rays
Sep 9, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Frankie Montas (47) pitches in a game against the Tampa Bay Rays / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit

When the crew at MLB Trade Rumors released their list of top 50 free agents along with projected contracts and destinations, the trio of writers who put it together had the Orioles landing five of the top 50 listed.

Four of the five have been written about here, with the most recent being relief pitcher Robert Stephenson. The last time the Orioles appear on the list is the 44th ranked free agent, that being starting pitcher Frankie Montas. Is there a fit between Montas and the Orioles?

Does signing Frankie Montas make sense for the Orioles?

Tim Dierkes projected the Orioles to sign Montas, with the contract projection at one year and $15 million. At first glance, $15 million seems like a lot to pay for a guy who missed almost all of 2023 with an injury, but it doesn't seem too steep when you see that the St. Louis Cardinals gave Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson $10 million and $12 million respectively.

You can't bring up Frankie Montas without mentioning his recent injury history. After pitching in eight games with the division rival New York Yankees after being traded there at the 2022 trade deadline, Montas got injured and returned as the Yankees got swept by the Houston Astros in the ALCS.

Right as spring training started in 2023, it was revealed that Montas needed shoulder surgery to deal with a lingering injury. That kept him out for almost the entire season, with Montas returning to pitch 1 1/3 scoreless innings on September 30 against the Kansas City Royals.

When he was healthy with the Yankees in 2022, Montas wasn't very good anyway. In 39 2/3 innings, he allowed 28 runs on six home runs, 15 walks, and 46 hits total, giving him a 6.35 ERA to end the season.

That 2022 season for Montas was the year after he finished in sixth place for the AL Cy Young voting in 2021, so the ability is still there to be found. If he can get back to that 2021 form, the one that saw him truly emerge as a top of the rotation arm, the team that signs him would look smart for doing so.

Unfortunately, despite the reward potential being there, Montas seems like too much of a risk for the Orioles this offseason. If he looks like the 2022 Yankees version of himself, the Orioles would certainly be wise to steer clear. Seeing Montas go to the Orioles doesn't appear to be a good fit.

feed