The Cardinals acquire lefty Jordan Montgomery of the Yankees, tweet Ken Rosenthal and Lindsey Adler of The Athletic. Montgomery will be traded for Harrison Baderreports Jack Curry from the YES Network. The transaction, officially announced by both teams, also includes a player to be named later or cash considerations going to the Yankees, conditionally under Bader’s playtime when it comes to the plantar fasciitis currently sidelining him.
Montgomery, 29, is a big addition to the Cardinals’ rotation. The lefty, a fourth-round draft pick from the University of South Carolina Yankees in 2014, finished sixth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting with a fine debut in 2017, but saw his career derailed by Tommy John operation the following season. Since 2021, he has become a reliable member of the Yankees rotation, with a 3.77 ERA in 272 innings in 51 starts. While Montgomery’s strikeout rate has fallen this year, his walk rate has also fallen, and he continued to keep his ERA south of 4.00.
Montgomery will earn a reasonable $6 million this year and must be raised through arbitration in 2023 before being eligible for free agency. He wasn’t necessarily supposed to be available, but the Yankees just added Frankie Montas front of their rotation in a trade with the A’s. Montgomery fits well with the Cardinals’ pitch-to-contact rotation, which is currently featured Adam Wainwright, Miles Mikolas, Dakota Hudsonrookie André Pallanteand recent addition Jose Quintana. Steven Matzo, signed as a free agent in November, is out with a knee injury that could require surgery. former ace Jack Flaherty are not eligible to return from a shoulder injury until the end of August. Looking forward to 2023, Adam Wainwright may retire and Quintana could leave as a free agent, but everyone else will remain under the control of the team.
Right now, the Cardinals are three games back in the NL Central and one game back from a wildcard spot. In addition to Quintana and Montgomery, the Cardinals also added Chris Stratton via trade to their bullpen. The club has reportedly expressed interest in many available starters before landing Montgomery, including: Frankie Montas, Jake Odorizzi, Tyler Mahleaand Carlos Rodon. Bader hit the IL for plantar fasciitis in his right foot in late June, with Dylan Carlson starting in midfield in his absence. Bader is currently in a walking boot before the injury. Apparently, the Cardinals thought Carlson could handle the gig for at least the rest of the season. The cardinals had been involved in John Sotobut allegedly hadn’t been prepared to match Carlson with their best prospects.
Bader, 28, is a native of Bronxville, New York, about 18 miles away from Yankee Stadium. He has been the Cardinals’ primary midfielder since 2018, when he finished sixth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting. Known for his defense, Bader picked up his first gold glove last year and finished second in the voting at the Fielding Bible awards. Bader’s wRC+ is at 93 this year, but he was at 111 over 526 at bats of 2020-21. Bader, one of the faster center fielders in the game, was limited to 103 games in 2021 due to a forearm injury and rib fracture.
The Yankees have the frequently injured Aaron Hicks as well as MVP frontrunner Aaron Judge in equal proportions in midfield so far this year. As soon as Bader and Giancarlo Stanton are healthy, Hicks thinks to see his playing time shortened. The Yankees also recently added a new leftfielder via trade, pick up Andrew Benintendic of the Royals.
Like Montgomery, Bader is in charge until 2023. But due to a two-year extension signed in April, Bader’s salary for both the 2022 and ’23 seasons was capped at $4.7 million, plus performance bonuses. The Yankees will cut several million dollars off the payroll next year compared to what Montgomery is expected to earn.
By parting with Montgomery, the Yankees have weakened their rotation for the remainder of the 2021 season, seemingly on lockdown Domingo German to fifth place to Louis Severino can return. With a 12 game lead in the AL East, that difference makes little difference. Montgomery’s loss was felt in the playoffs, especially if Severino is unable to rebuild to a starting role, but the Yankees clearly believe the final defensive upgrade in midfield is a net win. The decision has, according to the Yankees, at least caused some “head scratching” within the organization of the Yankees. Erik Boland from Newsday.