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Cincinnati Reds sign starting pitcher Frankie Montas

The Cincinnati Reds aren’t exactly shy about spending money this offseason. Not that they should know where the payroll was before the offseason, but they added another free agent with the signing of right-handed pitcher Frankie Montas. Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported agreement first. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com had the first report on the fact that it is a one-year contract for $16,000,000 – not including incentives, which are unknown at this time. This move is not yet official and will require a transfer of 40 players, as the roster is currently full.

In 2023, Frankie Montas has pitched in just one game. In the spring, he injured his shoulder and required surgery. He was activated from the injured list on September 30 and pitched in relief against the Royals, pitching 1.1 shutout innings that day. It was the only game he would throw this year.

The New York Yankees had acquired Montas at the 2022 trade deadline after Montas made 19 starts with Oakland and posted a 3.18 ERA. But he struggled in eight starts after the trade to New York, allowing 28 runs in 39.2 innings (6.35 ERA) to finish the season.

For his career, which has spanned the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees since 2015, Frankie Montas has a 3.90 ERA in 593.2 innings pitched which includes 99 starts and 31 relief appearances. Early in his career he was a flyball pitcher, but since moving to the rotation full-time, he has been league average to slightly better than league average at generating grounders. You can see his career statistics here.

After shoulder surgery, there will always be some concern about how the hardware looks compared to where it was before the injury. With only one game to watch, it’s really hard to tell. Montas had a fastball that averaged between 96.2 and 96.8 MPH over the previous five seasons. In his only game last year, it was 95.6. It was a short outing, and it was only one game, so it’s not very helpful, but it seemed like it should at least be talked about in the sense that he didn’t lose multiple MPH because of the injury.

Montas brings four arguments to the table. It will mix a 4 crimper, a 2 crimper, a slider and a splitter. During the 2022 season, the usage of these pitches was almost uniform across the board, with all being thrown at least 22% of the time and none more than 28% of the time. He generally threw plenty of strikes and missed bats at a solid rate.

Cincinnati’s pitching has gotten stronger and deeper this offseason. They now have starting options with Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Graham Ashcraft, Brandon Williamson, Andrew Abbott, Frankie Montas and Nick Martinez. That doesn’t include options like Connor Phillips, Lyon Richardson, Carson Spiers or Levi Stoudt who are likely to start the year in the minors. They also added some bullpen help. After a season in which they deployed several guys who started the year playing in an independent league, the Reds appear to be trying to have enough quality depth to avoid that fate again in 2024.

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