The Oakland Athletics named right-hander Frankie Montas as their Opening Day starter earlier this week, putting to bed speculation that he would be traded prior to the start of the season. That didn't stop several potential American League contenders from scouting a simulated game he threw on Sunday morning, however.
The Boston Red Sox, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, and Tampa Bay Rays each had scouts in attendance for Montas' outing on Sunday, according to FanGraphs' Eric Longenhagen. (Longenhagen, who was also present, has detailed scouting notes on Montas' outing.) It should be stressed that those teams having scouts at Montas' sim game doesn't mean they're engaged in talks with the Athletics, or that a deal is imminent or likely to occur prior to the start of the season.
Originally, Montas had been scheduled to pitch on Saturday, but the Athletics scratched him prior to the game and moved him to a back field at their complex.
Regardless, Montas is scheduled to qualify for free agency after the 2023 season and it's unlikely that he'll remain with the Athletics until then. Rather, it would qualify as a surprise if he's still in Oakland beyond the trade deadline. The A's have made a habit out of trading core players since the owner-imposed lockout ended, with Matt Olson (Atlanta Braves), Matt Chapman (Toronto Blue Jays), Chris Bassitt (New York Mets), and Sean Manaea (San Diego Padres) all being sent to new homes in recent weeks.
Montas, 29 years old, has had an uneven past few seasons. He emerged in 2019, but was suspended after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. He scuffled during the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, yet rebounded in a major way last season to finish sixth in American League Cy Young Award voting. Overall, he's posted a 3.51 ERA (119 ERA+) and a 3.59 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his last 336 innings.
Presuming Montas is still indeed with the Athletics come Friday, he'll receive the ball against the Philadelphia Phillies.