Cardinals’ Bader-Montgomery Trade: The picture comes into focus

Harrison Bader and Jordan Montgomery

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The Cardinals chose to swap immensely popular Harrison Bader for the Yankees’ Jordan Montgomery just before the deadline day in August last year. They pushed forward it despite MLB fans discussing and debating the trade. Now, it is clear why the Cardinals went on despite stiff criticism and there’s a clear winner in this trade.

Now, the 2022 trade that sent Harrison Bader from the St. Louis Cardinals to the New York Yankees in exchange for Jordan Montgomery is much clearer. Cardinals fans can now relax because it looks like their team got the better part of the deal. The Yankees put Harrison Bader on waivers that can’t be reversed on August 29th. Since then, he has been picked up by the Cincinnati Reds.

The Cardinals traded Harrison Bader for a reason

Harrison Bader was really popular with the fans in St. Louis because of his lively personality and his long blonde hair (though he had to cut it when he joined the Yankees because of their strict grooming rules). However, when he played for the Yankees in his hometown borough of the Bronx, he didn’t perform well offensively. The Cardinals traded Harrison Bader because he was dealing with plantar fasciitis, and even after joining the Yankees, he had more injury problems. He had issues with his oblique and hamstring muscles, which led to him being placed on the injured list twice this season.

harrison-bader-new-york-yankees
Charles Wenzelberg/NYP

While playing for the Yankees, Harrison Bader had some good moments, especially during the playoffs last season, when he hit five home runs in nine games. However, if we look at his overall performance with the Yankees, it wasn’t very impressive. He had a batting average of .239 and his OPS (a measure of his overall hitting performance) dropped to a career-low of .640 this season.

On the other hand, when Jordan Montgomery was with the Cardinals, he had a 3.31 ERA over 184.2 innings of play between last year’s trade deadline and this year’s trade deadline. He played a crucial role in stabilizing a pitching rotation that had been put together with various pieces.

Cardinals made big by trading ex-Yankees to Texas

The Cardinals eventually sent Montgomery to the Texas Rangers at the 2023 trade deadline for three players, and that’s where the Harrison Bader trade bring more benefits for them. They received minor league pitcher Tekoah Roby, minor league infielder Thomas Saggese, and major league pitcher John King. Since the trade, Saggese has been doing really well, hitting .354 with a high 1.152 OPS in 96 at-bats while playing for Double-A Springfield.

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery dominated his former club, the New York Yankees.
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Roby, who had been dealing with an injury, only pitched in one game after returning, but he did great in his three innings of work by striking out six batters and allowing just one earned run. On the other hand, King was more like an extra addition to the deal and might not have a long-term future with the Cardinals. However, he’s performed well, giving up just one earned run in 8.2 innings while playing for the Cardinals.

At first, trading Harrison Bader for Montgomery seemed like a straightforward deal that fans from both teams could easily assess. However, the Yankees are now thinking of letting go of Bader without getting anything in return, while the Cardinals might benefit from some talented young players. In the end, this trade could end up looking one-sided in favor of St. Louis, with Montgomery acting as the intermediary player. While people often criticize John Mozeliak and his team, this time the Cardinals’ front office should be applauded for their decision.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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4 thoughts on “Cardinals’ Bader-Montgomery Trade: The picture comes into focus

  1. Another example of a boneheaded trade by Cashman. Montgomery was a workhorse who pitched fairly well, and even better for St Louis, and was an innings eater. Could have really used him last year and even more this year. I liked Bader, and he certainly had a good post season last year, but he injures too easily and had the worst stats of his career this year. Yankees are in desperate need of better scouting and player evaluation.

    1. We have great young players already, that they didn’t bring up spon enough. Don’t need more. We could’ve used Monty though. We lost a lot and probably a shot at the playoffs, rehabbing Sevy and Rodon.

  2. How about we pile on Bader, a Gold Glove performer who brings energy to any club for whom he plays. Or… how about we appreciate Bader’s contributions to the Cardinals while he was with us and let bygones be bygones. Why writers keep bringing up benefits of the Bader/Montgomery trade is beyond me. Maybe there just isn’t enough to write about…?

  3. Mo needs to go. While this trade was good for us, this year is the worst in a long time. He did not get pitching which we needed this year. Ollie should join him. He has not done a good job managing the overall talent he has. Mike was much better at managing the team. He should join Mo.

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