On Wednesday the Los Angeles Dodgers completed a three-team trade with the Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds.
The prospect-heavy deal netted the Dodgers second baseman Micah Johnson, right-hander Frankie Montas and outfielder Trayce Thompson from the White Sox.
Cincinnati received infielders Brandon Dixon and Jose Peraza, and outfielder Scott Schebler from the Dodgers. The White Sox landed third baseman Todd Frazier from the Reds.
While Frazier is the most-recognized name, Montas is perceived as a big pieced moved in the trade as well. The 22-year-old power right-hander went 5-5 with a 2.97 ERA and 108 strikeouts in 23 starts with Double-A Birmingham last season.
He joined the White Sox in September and appeared in seven games (two starts), going 0-2 with a 4.80 ERA, 20 strikeouts and nine walks over 15 innings.
There’s speculation and the expectation Montas better projects as a reliever. However, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times, Dodgers president of baseball operations wants to first give Montas an opportunity as a starting pitcher:
Friedman says he is certain Montas can be part of a major league bullpen right now, but wants to develop him as a starting pitcher.
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) December 16, 2015
The Dominican Republic native, who has 92 career Minor League outings under his belt, first signed with the Boston Red Sox in 2009. Of his 92 career Minor League outings, 80 have come as a starter. In 382.2 career innings, Montas has a 3.86 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 390 strikeouts.
He joins a Dodgers farm system with other highly touted pitching prospects such as Jharel Cotton, Jose De Leon and Julio Urias.
While there’s some disagreement over Montas’ career path, there is also mild uncertainty as to whether or not he’ll be with the Dodgers organization by Spring Training.
It’s far from secret Los Angeles is looking to acquire an elite starting pitcher to replace Zack Greinke with and slide behind Clayton Kershaw in the rotation.
The Dodgers’ latest trade further adds to the stockpile of prospects Friedman and the front office have been collecting, which would make prying away someone along the lines of Jose Fernandez easier to accomplish.