Yankees gain upper hand in Jordan Montgomery sweepstakes thanks to Rangers

Jordan Montgomery is seen pitching for the Yankees in 2022.

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The trade landscape for free agent pitcher Jordan Montgomery took an intriguing turn this week, with potential repercussions for his potential return to the New York Yankees.

Previously, Jordan Montgomery had expressed interest in rejoining the Texas Rangers, the team that helped him capture a coveted World Series title in 2023. However, the Rangers’ recent acquisition of Michael Lorenzen on a one-year, $4.5 million deal throws a potential wrench into those plans. This move suggests that the Rangers may be scaling back their pursuit of Jordan Montgomery.

Meanwhile, the Yankees find themselves in a precarious situation. With their ace, Gerrit Cole, sidelined for the next 1-2 months due to injury, their starting rotation is facing uncertainty as the season approaches. The Yankees’ failure to secure the services of several top free-agent starters this offseason has further exacerbated their pitching woes.

However, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. Reports indicate that renewed discussions between Jordan Montgomery and the Yankees have taken place, suggesting a potential reunion before the season commences. As the last remaining notable free-agent pitcher on the market, Montgomery presents an attractive option for teams seeking to bolster their starting pitching depth.

While the Rangers’ acquisition of Lorenzen may have taken them out of the running for Jordan Montgomery’s services, he could potentially draw interest from other clubs. Teams like the Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs, and Boston Red Sox may be interested in acquiring him at a potentially favorable price given the current landscape of the market.

Despite Jordan Montgomery’s strong performance last season and his contributions to the Rangers’ championship run, financial constraints and the Lorenzen signing may have altered their priorities. The signing, coupled with potential financial limitations, suggests that the Rangers may be taking a different approach to bolstering their pitching staff. This development opens the door for the Yankees to potentially bring Jordan Montgomery back into the fold and solidify their rotation for the upcoming campaign.

Jordan Montgomery’s asking price an obstacle but market trends offer hope

Jordan Montgomery with his wife McKenzie Dirr at Yankee Stadium, New Yor, in 2021.
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While Jordan Montgomery’s performance on the mound has not been the primary roadblock, his asking price has proven to be a significant sticking point in contract negotiations with the New York Yankees, or any potential suitor, for that matter.

The Yankees, hesitant to commit substantial resources due to Jordan Montgomery’s pre-2022 statistics (a 22-20 record in 97 starts over six years), have been reluctant to offer him a lucrative long-term deal.

However, Jordan Montgomery’s numbers since departing New York paint a vastly different picture. He thrived during his tenure with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2022, posting an impressive 6-3 record with a respectable 3.11 ERA. His performance continued to impress in 2023, registering a 10-11 record and a stellar 3.20 ERA across stints with both the Cardinals and the Texas Rangers. Furthermore, he solidified his value with a phenomenal postseason showing, going 3-1 with a 2.90 ERA.

Initially, Jordan Montgomery’s camp set their sights high, aiming for a contract similar to Aaron Nola’s massive seven-year, $172 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. While his recent performance arguably outshines Nola’s, the market value simply favored the established starter.

Scott Boras, Jordan Montgomery’s agent, has consistently pushed for a Nola-like contract throughout the offseason. However, a trend has emerged with other Boras clients like Cody Bellinger, Matt Chapman, and Blake Snell. These players initially sought long-term, high-dollar contracts but ultimately settled for shorter deals with opt-out clauses. This trend suggests that Montgomery’s asking price might also be undergoing adjustments to better reflect the current market climate.

There exists a possibility that Jordan Montgomery and the Yankees, or another team, could reach an agreement if Montgomery’s price aligns more closely with the recent contracts secured by other Boras clients. The strong showing he had after leaving the Yankees could still position him for a lucrative contract but with a shorter term and more flexibility for both parties involved.

Is a return to the Yankees possible?

Ex-Yankees and current Rangers' starter Jordan Montgomery with the 2023 World Series trophy at Phoenix, AZ, on November 01, 2023.
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A potential reunion between Jordan Montgomery and the New York Yankees in the Bronx appears to be a complex situation, with lingering emotions and financial considerations playing a significant role.

Previously, it was assumed that Jordan Montgomery would be reluctant to welcome a return to the Yankees after his trade to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2022. The trade, which the Yankees justified as a move to bolster their postseason rotation, left the pitcher feeling undervalued. Whether those sentiments have completely subsided remains to be seen.

On the Yankees’ side, owner Hal Steinbrenner’s hesitance to push the payroll even higher due to the luxury tax implications presents a significant obstacle. While exploring ways to improve their utility infield, the Yankees deemed the recently traded Santiago Espinal too expensive due to his salary and the additional tax burden it would incur.

From an analytical perspective, Jordan Montgomery does not fit the profile of a high-strikeout pitcher, a factor that places him in a similar category to Eduardo Rodriguez, who signed a $20 million average annual value (AAV) deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Even replicating that deal for Montgomery would translate to a hefty $42 million commitment for the Yankees in the first year when accounting for both his salary and the associated tax implications.

However, there exists a possibility that Jordan Montgomery might be willing to explore a contract structure that lessens the immediate financial strain on the Yankees. This could involve deferring a portion of his salary or incorporating opt-out clauses after specific seasons. Such a creative approach could pave the way for a more realistic return to the pinstripes for the talented pitcher.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

One thought on “Yankees gain upper hand in Jordan Montgomery sweepstakes thanks to Rangers

  1. Do the Yankees really have the upper hand? Boston needs pitching, and the City of Boston is where his wife is doing her residency. Oh, and where does he now live in the off season? Boston. Monty may not now get the years he’s been looking for, but the AAV would be similar. The Yankees have 2 problems though: GM Brian Cashman and PC Matt Blake. We All know about Cashman, but Blake, in my opinion, never got Monty, pitching wise. Can he honestly look at what Monty did in STL/TEX and follow that blueprint to continue to help him, or will he insist that Monty confirm once again?

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