The Los Angeles Angels entered the offseason with a big need in the rotation, and have done absolutely nothing to address it. Sure, Zach Plesac is decent depth, but he's far from any sort of game-changer. As free agency starts to pick up steam, concerns that the Angels will do nothing with their starting rotation remain to grow as another potential target goes off the board.
Frankie Montas would've made a lot of sense for the Angels as a buy-low candidate. He has tremendous upside and there's a good chance he'd have a better year than anyone else in this rotation in 2024. Unfortunately, there was no rumored Angels interest, and the right-hander signed a deal with the Reds.
Angels watch another potential starting pitching target come off the board as Frankie Montas signs deal with the Reds
Let's get this out of the way. The deal did not come cheap. Montas agreed to a one-year deal worth $16 million. For a guy who recorded just four outs in 2023, that's quite a hefty chunk of change. While it might seem unreasonable on the surface, the starting pitching market is just incredibly expensive right now.
Lance Lynn had an ERA approaching 6.00 this past season and allowed the most home runs in the league. He got $11 million from the Cardinals. Yoshinobu Yamamoto has not thrown a single pitch and got the largest contract for a pitcher in MLB history. Starting pitching is at a premium, and teams know that.
Montas got this deal because of who he was in recent memory. In 2021, he was among the best pitchers in the AL, posting a 3.37 ERA in a league-leading 32 starts and 187 innings of work. He finished sixth in the AL Cy Young balloting. He was having an even better year in 2022 before a midseason trade to the Yankees shook that up. Montas struggled with New York as some pitchers do.
This past season turned out to be a wash, as a shoulder injury knocked him out for virtually the entire season. He'd return for Game 161 and record four outs. The Reds are paying him for 2021 and the first half of 2022, when he was among the best ptichers in the AL. To me, that makes a whole lot of sense. He's only 30 years old and signed a deal for one year. Even if it doesn't work out, the Reds aren't tied to him past 2024.
Montas would've made sense as an Angels option. First, he's familiar with the AL West. That means something. Additionally, the terms of this deal make him either an important piece to a playoff team, or a potential trade candidate if things go wrong. This Angels team wants to compete, so Montas could've played a role in that. If they did not compete, he could've gotten them something decent back at the deadline.
The Angels continue to wait as starting pitching options fly off the board. Soon enough, there won't be anything left worth adding.