New York Yankees SP Frankie Montas will undergo shoulder surgery on Feb. 21, manager Aaron Boone announced on Wednesday. Montas was acquired by the Yankees prior to the 2022 MLB Trade Deadline from the Oakland Athletics. Montas has one more year of arbitration before becoming an unrestricted free agent after this season. With this news, there’s a chance Montas doesn’t play at all in 2023.
This is a pretty unfortunate blow to the Yankees before pitchers and catchers report next week. Montas was going to be toward the back-end of the rotation but he also was considered an Ace for the A’s before being acquired. If Montas could have regained that form, it could have boosted the Yankees this season. Instead, it looks like New York won’t have Montas the entire year.
Nestor Cortes is also dealing with a hamstring injury that took him out of the rotation for the United States at the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Cortes is on track to be ready for Opening Day, so that’s good news. With Nestor OK, the Yankees rotation will still boast Gerrit Cole, Carlos Rodon, Luis Severino and Cortes, who broke out last season as an All-Star.
The Yankees have some options toward the back-end of the rotation. Clarke Schmidt may be ready to make the jump from relief pitcher to starter in some capacity. He had the penchant for implosion at times in 2022 but did post a 3.12 ERA with 0.8 WAR over 57.2 innings, starting three games while making 29 appearances. He’s got good stuff and is 26 years old, so entering his prime.
Luis Gil and Deivi Garcia could also compete for the 5th starter role in Spring Training along with Schmidt. Gil came up during the 2021 season and flashed some strong stuff, going 1-1 with a 3.07 ERA over 29.1 innings in six starts. Gil spent most of last season in the minors. Garcia hasn’t had much experience and didn’t pitch well in short stints last season in the Majors. Still, he’s considered one of the Yankees better pitching prospects and should get a lot of work this spring.
In terms of fantasy baseball, this injury isn’t as impactful. Chances are in re-draft leagues Montas was a late-round flier who now can be dropped. If you were targeting Montas, you can shift focus away if you’re looking for a sleeper pitcher.