According to a report from MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the Detroit Tigers are interested in A’s starters Sean Manaea and Frankie Montas
The Detroit Tigers, while trying to build a playoff team, have been linked to Zack Grienke and Michael Pineda. Greinke decided to return home to Kansas City shortly after the report came out–and we may have just gotten some insight as to why.
The Tigers, according to a report from Jon Heyman, are among the teams in the sweepstakes for Oakland Athletics starters Sean Manaea and Frankie Montas, and are the latest on the block in their comprehensive firesale. Greinke and Pineda, presumably, would be backup options in the event Detroit would have lost out on a trade, and perhaps Greinke didn’t feel like waiting around to find out if the Tigers would still be there in the event they got their guy.
As Heyman notes, the Detroit Tigers are likely interested in one of the two. This could come down to preference, or perhaps the return that Oakland is requesting.
Manaea is on the last year of his contract entering his age-30 season and is due $10.2 million for the year, according to Spotrac. He’s coming off of a career year in 2021 in which he supplied 3.4 bWAR and reached career highs in starts (32), innings (179.1), and strikeouts (194). The 6’5″ lefty provides the prototypical starter build and does an excellent job at limiting free passes–averaging just 2.2 walks per nine innings across his entire career.
Montas may require a heftier return to Oakland. Unlike Manaea, he has two years of control remaining and is under contract in 2022 for just $5.2 million, nearly half of Manaea’s 2022 salary. Additionally, Montas has yet to turn 29 and is coming off his most consistent season: 3.6 bWAR across 32 starts with a 3.37 ERA and 207 strikeouts across 187 innings.
Frankie Montas is also a bit of a Statcast darling, too. He generates loads of swings and misses, boasting a chase rate in the 91st percentile of starting pitchers with a fastball in the 88th percentile that spins well. His splitter generates a whiff percentage north of 50 and batters hit just .126 off it last season.
Nevertheless, both would present an upgrade to a rotation that could use another established arm. Currently, the rotation goes something like this: Casey Mize, Eduardo Rodriguez, Tarik Skubal, Matt Manning, and then one of Tyler Alexander, Wily Peralta, or Joey Wentz occupying that fifth spot. Adding another starter would allow the organization more flexibility on Manning’s development while also giving them the necessary depth to sustain a 162-game schedule.
Despite the Tigers having several untouchable pieces (Mize, Skubal, Greene, Torkelson, Jobe), there are still several tradeable players who would help to facilitate a deal. Catcher Dillon Dingler is on the outskirts of most Top 100 lists across major publications, and Ryan Kreidler no longer has a spot to play with Jeimer Candelario and Javier Baez covering the left side of the infield.
Isaac Paredes could be another piece to include, although some might wonder if his slow offensive MLB start may have scared off opposing clubs. Or, could they perhaps part with Matt Manning? A player young enough to align with the A’s rebuild while still supplying great upside.
Other teams that have shown interest in Sean Manaea and Frankie Montas are the New York Yankees, the Minnesota Twins, and the Kansas City Royals–who are now likely out with their addition of Greinke.