Yankees pass on keeping Montas, circle back to Montgomery

Frenkie Montas, player of the New York Yankees
Michael Bennington
Sunday December 31, 2023

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The Yankees made it clear they are not interested in having Frankie Montas anymore and the pitcher headed to Cincinnati. According to Jon Heyman of The Post, Frankie Montas secured a one-year, $16 million deal with the Reds, officially closing the chapter on his challenging stint in the Bronx, where he posted a 6.15 ERA in just 41 innings after being acquired from the A’s.

Despite Frankie Montas carrying whispers of a potential rebound following shoulder surgery that sidelined him for most of 2023, the Reds have taken the gamble on his bounce-back potential.

Yankees’ options after letting Frankie Montas go

With the Frankie Montas option off the table, the Yankees now shift their attention to a more established, albeit pricier, left-handed pitching solution: Jordan Montgomery. The former Yankees southpaw, who experienced a resurgence in 2023, is a sought-after commodity, with the Red Sox, Mets, Angels, Giants, and Rangers emerging as potential suitors.

While Frankie Montas’ brief consideration leaves a question mark in the Bronx rotation, the availability of Montgomery presents an enticing opportunity. Whether the Yankees opt for the familiar comfort of “Monty” or explore alternative avenues is yet to be determined. One thing is certain: their pursuit of reliable innings is still ongoing.

Yankees ready to pay a price for a reunion with Montgomery

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X-@BOSSportsGordo

A year after Carlos Rodon secured a substantial six-year, $162 million deal with the Yankees, Jordan Montgomery stands on the brink of a comparable payday, fresh from his World Series victory with the Rangers. The irony is palpable: had Rodon fulfilled his potential in 2023, the allure of Montgomery’s left-handed presence in the rotation might not be as compelling.

However, with trades for Juan Soto and Yoshinobu Yamamoto‘s staggering $325 million contract with the Dodgers, the Yankees now find themselves in need of another arm. Beyond Cy Young winner Gerrit Cole, uncertainties linger. Injuries and inconsistency plagued Rodon and Nestor Cortes, while Clarke Schmidt shoulders the burden of replicating his career-high 159 innings. The steadiness of someone like Montgomery could be the remedy for their shaky rotation, but it comes at a significant cost.

The intricacies of the cost-benefit analysis become apparent. Montgomery, a dependable workhorse boasting a career 3.99 ERA, brings stability and innings—precious commodities in today’s analytics-driven game. However, with Rodon already on the payroll, securing Montgomery to another substantial contract raises eyebrows. Is Montgomery the missing piece, or does his signing represent another expensive gamble in a pitching market fraught with risk?

The decision weighs heavily on the Bronx. Should they commit to another long-term contract, explore trade possibilities, or entrust internal candidates to step up? One certainty is that Montgomery’s potential addition would be a costly solution to an enduring rotation question mark. The Yankees stand at a pivotal point in the offseason, and their choice will define their championship aspirations for 2024.

Montgomery on the rise after leaving Yankees

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Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Recall Jordan Montgomery, the dependable left-hander traded for Harrison Bader in 2022 by the Yankees? Well, erase the image of the “perfectly solid” pitcher in pinstripes. In Texas, he has morphed into a genuine ace, demonstrating that the trade was more than just a blockbuster package deal.

While his time with the Yankees showcased a respectable 3.94 ERA, Montgomery has ascended to another level since heading south. Since the trade, he boasts the seventh-lowest ERA (3.17) among qualified pitchers in the major leagues—a statistic that hints at Cy Young contention. His 5.7 fWAR, a comprehensive measure of a player’s value, positioned him just behind Gerrit Cole’s 6.0, affirming that he’s not merely a strikeout machine but a true workhorse capable of eating innings. Notably, his 252 1/3 innings, tied for 16th in the league, underscore his durability and unwavering consistency.

However, the regular season merely serves as the appetizer. Montgomery delivered the main course on the grandest stage of all: the World Series. Pitching for the Rangers, he posted a 3-1 record with an impressive 2.90 ERA in six postseason appearances, five of which were starts. He played a pivotal role in their championship run, stifling bats and quashing rallies with equal finesse.

One certainty is that the once-deemed expendable left-hander has evolved into a formidable force. As he gears up to capitalize on a well-deserved payday in free agency, Montgomery’s ascent post-Yankees serves as a poignant reminder that sometimes, a change of scenery is all it takes to unlock a player’s true potential.

Despite the 2022 trade that sent him to the West, Jordan Montgomery bears no ill will toward the Yankees. He insists there’s “no bad blood,” leaving the possibility of a Bronx homecoming open.

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