Montgomery makes a U-turn, sends positive vibes to Yankees

Jordan Montgomery with his wife McKenzie Dirr at Yankee Stadium, New Yor, in 2021.
Sara Molnick
Saturday October 28, 2023

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Almost a month after taunting the New York Yankees for giving up on him with a claim that he was not suitable for playoffs, Jordan Montgomery has reversed his stance and extended an olive branch to his former team.

As he is set to start Game 2 of the 2023 World Series for the Rangers against the Yankees’ rival Houston Astros, the former Yankee said:

“I’ve got no bad blood. The Yankees drafted me, gave me [six] good years of being in the big leagues. I’ve got a lot of really good relationships still over there. Media can try to stir up as much bad blood, but I got nothing but respect for them.”

This is certain to make Yankees fans happy, as there are rumors about the team looking to sign Montgomery back to the Bronx during his free agency this offseason.

Montgomery says no ill will toward the Yankees

Texas Rangers pitcher Montgomery holds no resentment towards his former team, the New York Yankees, despite being traded last summer. Clearly, the trade has worked out extremely well for his career.

With his dominant performances this October, Montgomery has shown he can be a playoff ace, contrary to the Yankees’ assessment when they traded him last year for outfielder Harrison Bader. The Yankees partially moved him because they didn’t see him in their postseason rotation plans.

Ex-Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery

In an interview on Thursday at Globe Life Field, Montgomery stated that seizing opportunities is critical for success. He expressed confidence in his ability to perform in big games, dating back to his high school, college, and minor league days. he emphasized he just needed a chance to showcase his capabilities.

Montgomery revealed that many of his former New York Yankee teammates have contacted him during the playoffs, including Gerrit Cole, Aaron Judge, and Aaron Boone. He still has plenty of supporters in the Yankees clubhouse, which likely explains why Montgomery harbors no ill will toward New York for trading him.

Montgomery expressed contentment with having the chance to demonstrate his skills and potential with the Texas Rangers. He pointed out that during his Yankees tenure, he maintained a 3.94 ERA, proving he was a capable pitcher. However, the ex-Yankees pitcher stressed that he has continued improving and maturing each season, and he believes he is currently having his best year yet. The opportunity with Texas has allowed Montgomery to reach new heights and maximize his talents on the big playoff stage.

Montgomery’s transformation in Texas

That opportunity rarely came with the Yankees. In his six seasons with New York, Montgomery made only one playoff start: Game 4 of the 2020 ALDS when he pitched four innings of one-run ball against the Rays to extend the series. Although he was on the postseason roster in 2017 as a rookie, he did not appear in any ALDS or ALCS games.

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X-@sandy_stats

Montgomery did not pitch in the 2018 postseason as he was rehabilitating from Tommy John surgery. In 2019, after pitching just four innings in September following his return from injury, he was left off the playoff rosters.

The Yankees had their 2021 playoff run ended after just one game. Then, by the 2022 trade deadline, the team saw Gerrit Cole, Luis Severino, Frankie Montas, and Nestor Cortes as their ideal postseason rotation.

This outlook made him seem expendable in order to acquire Bader. Montgomery harbored no ill will towards the Yankees, acknowledging they drafted him and gave him about six years of major league experience. He maintained respect for the organization and positive relationships with individuals there, despite attempts by the media to stir up controversy.

Montgomery understood why he never got the starting opportunity with New York. Regardless, he expressed contentment at having the chance now with Texas. The 30-year-old has thrived in the October spotlight, posting a 2.16 ERA over 25 innings in four starts and a crucial relief outing in Game 7 of the ALCS.

Jordan Montgomery with his wife McKenzie Dirr at T-Mobile Park, Seattle, in October 2023.
kenzie_dirr

A postseason specialist now

Jordan Montgomery’s strong postseason numbers, coupled with a 3.20 ERA over 32 regular season starts split between the Cardinals and Rangers, have positioned him for a lucrative free-agent contract this offseason.

According to Texas Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux, who also coached Montgomery last season in St. Louis, the left-hander has realized he’s a very talented pitcher. Maddux stated that no stage seems too big for him, as he approaches every inning and at-bat the same way. This consistent mindset is what Maddux admires about the pitcher.

Maddux said the composed Montgomery has “significantly improved his preparation” since joining the Cardinals after leaving the Yankees.

Montgomery cited enhancements in his pitching repertoire, mechanics, conviction, execution, physical strength, and overall command for his evolution as a starter.

Max Scherzer praised Jordan Montgomery for having an excellent grasp of changing speeds and knowing how to pitch effectively. Scherzer stated that the pitcher excels at the fundamentals of locating pitches and varying speeds, which has been key to his postseason success.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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6 thoughts on “Montgomery makes a U-turn, sends positive vibes to Yankees

  1. Yankee fans hated that trade and never gave up on Montgomery. It was only the knuckleheads in the front office. Would love to see Cashman go and Monty come back!

    1. Cashman made a stab in the dark but a risky move. #1 you never trade away a know SP quantity!! Someone goes down it’s nice to have Gumby in the wings.

      Therefore Bader elite OF D was a great add. However, lame and on the IL with no know availability and for how long and if healed properly, Cashman shot himself in not trading minor league players for a lame duck OF.

  2. Polls say it was roughly half of the fans.
    And for good reason.

    He was a 5-inning melter who was constantly
    pitching from behind, and into trouble.
    A back of the rotation guy whose best
    value at that moment was in the
    trade market. Actually one of the few smarter
    moves that Cashman has made over the
    past half-decade.

    There’s no way of predicting that type of
    jump, as hindsight is 20/20 – not to mention
    how funny it is that no one was complaining
    about that trade when Bader was carrying
    the team during last year’s playoffs.
    Or how no one is currently harkening-back
    to how great Rodon was doing during his
    recent time in SF.

    OR how the fact that it’s Baseball – and unlike
    most any other sport, player trajectory is
    relatively unpredictable, and can literally
    turn on a dime. In any and all directions.
    Especially when it comes to Pitchers, where
    different perspectives from various pitching
    coaches, frequently happen – and in the
    alternate universe, had he stayed – no one
    has the slightest clue as to what particular
    direction (if any) that he would have taken.

  3. This scenario reminds me of Andy Pettitte and the Yankees. For years the front office would say he wasn’t good enough and would throw his name out there in trade talks. As we know the front office was wrong then and they where wrong with Jordan. Cashman and the analytics department have no clue what they are doing and listening to Steinbrenner they have no idea for next year.

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