Yankees first-year manager Aaron Boone continues to pull the right strings this spring, officially naming left-hander Jordan Montgomery the club’s No. 5 starter.
To be honest with you, following Jordan Montgomery’s outstanding rookie season, I never quite understood why there was any debate as to why he shouldn’t be in the starting rotation headed into 2018.
Compiling a 9-7 record, with a 3.88 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and an 8.34 SO/9 in 155.1 innings pitched (29 starts), Monty finished sixth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting.
Most clubs would kill for a young, left-handed starter capable of pitching to a winning record under intense pressure that comes with playing in New York.
But because the Yankees overachieved in 2017, general manager Brian Cashman was consistently linked with acquiring one experienced shooter after the other.
However, the likes of Yu Darvish, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb and Jake Odorizzi never came to fruition.
Then there was the idea of stretching out reliever Chad Green. After a breakout campaign where Green put up other-worldly numbers such as a 5-0 record and 1.85 ERA in 40 appearances while striking out 103 batters in 69 innings, why the Yanks considered taking such an integral piece out of the bullpen is beyond me.
More from Yanks Go Yard
- Predicting Yankees-Diamondbacks LF trade package after Ken Rosenthal update
- Yankees add to championship core with Wilmer Difo signing
- Aaron Judge’s ‘breadcrumbs’ showed he was never leaving Yankees, has more moves in mind
- Creating a Yankees-Bryan Reynolds trade package after latest Pirates update
- Yankees analyst Cameron Maybin projects surprise landing spot for Gary Sánchez
I know the ‘pen has some of the best arms in the business, but Green has all the makings of an elite closer. With the continued struggles of Dellin Betances, it’s entirely possible Boone will have to make the tough decision to replace the team’s setup man at some point in the new season if Betances can’t right the ship.
With the Yankees picking up where they left off in ’17, going 11-4 in Grapefruit League action, highlighted by Jordan Montgomery’s 1.04 ERA and 1.038 WHIP while striking out 11 batters through 8.2 innings pitched, the decision to place Monty back in the rotation was an easy one.
Not only has Montgomery’s curveball featured pinpoint control this spring, but the second-year southpaw has rediscovered his changeup which he went without for most of his rookie season.
Boone on Montgomery, per Eric Boland of Newsday:
"“We’re really excited not only about the year he put together last year but where we think he can continue to go,” Boone said. “When I look at him, I look at him as one of our starters.”"
Boone on Green:
"“Obviously as elite as it got last year,” Boone said. “We’ll start to work him back into that role.”"
Entering the halfway mark of Spring Training, I for one am stoked that Boone has sorted out the final starting spot weeks before Opening Day in Toronto.
This allows Monty, Green and even Adam Warren to settle into their familiar roles while building on the necessary confidence to help propel the Yankees out of the gate with their usual winning ways.