Montas Waiting In The Wings For Dodgers

LOS ANGELES—Free agency broke up the dynamic pairing at the front of the Dodgers’ rotation with Zack Greinke leaving for the Diamondbacks. But the Dodgers could still have one of the best rotations in baseball in 2016—at Triple-A Oklahoma City.

As their part of a three-team trade with the Reds and White Sox, the Dodgers acquired three prospects: outfielder Trayce Thompson, second baseman Micah Johnson and righthander Frankie Montas.

The 6-foot-2 Montas is one of the hardest-throwing pitching prospects in baseball with a fastball that reaches 100 mph and a power slider. He made his major league debut with two starts for the White Sox in September and is considered major league-ready if the Dodgers want to move him to the bullpen.

That is not the plan at this point, according to president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, who said Montas will be given a chance to develop as a starter, working with Dodgers coaches on his changeup.

That means Montas, 22, will likely begin 2016 in the same Triple-A rotation with the Dodgers’ other top-ranked pitching prospects: lefthander Julio Urias and righthander Jose De Leon.

That is, unless the Dodgers’ struggles to fill out their big league rotation gives one of those young pitchers a chance to open 2016 in Los Angeles. Friedman said he did not see that as good idea.

“Not really,” Friedman said in December. “We want to do what’s right for those guys. Now, we may get to spring training and (their time tables are) accelerated. But it’s certainly not something we would plan on now.”

Another very real possibility is a trade for an established major league starter in which the Dodgers part with one of those youngsters. Friedman would not rule that out.

“I think something we pride ourselves on is not having any hard-and-fast rules,” he said.


• In an unexpected move, Gabe Kapler will remain the Dodgers’ farm director. He was a finalist for the managerial vacancy in Los Angeles and was then expected to take a position on new manager Dave Roberts’ coaching staff.

• The Dodgers were active in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft, selecting five players. One of them, righthander Logan Bawcom, was originally in the organization before being traded to the Mariners in July 2012.

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