The New York Yankees trading away Jordan Montgomery at the 2022 deadline in exchange for an injured Harrison Bader never made much sense, even though a healthy Bader will be an obvious upgrade on Aaron Hicks whenever he returns (and no matter what he can actually contribute).
Trading pitching depth before the stretch run when the team should’ve added some made no sense at the time. Neither did messing with a winning team’s chemistry at the buzzer after nearly completing a perfect deadline recharge, forcing Jameson Taillon to answer for his best friend’s departure after a poor start against Seattle.
What nobody saw coming, though, was Montgomery ripping off four dominant starts in a row to start his Cardinals tenure. After his first three, all that was lacking was length; he hadn’t passed six innings in any outing, though he only allowed one earned run.
Well, Monty answered that final bell on Monday, one-hitting the Cubs at Wrigley Field on just 99 pitches in a complete-game shutout. While he was always a steady presence at the back end of the Yankees’ rotation, this was something he never showed any interest in pursuing.
Montgomery as a late-blooming ace wasn’t on Brian Cashman’s deadline checklist. But just because he’s departed to the NL Central on his way “out of the playoff rotation” doesn’t mean the other Yankees have forgotten about him.
After capturing Monday’s Subway Series game for their second consecutive 4-2 win, the Yanks reportedly stayed by the television to watch Montgomery ride Albert Pujols’ solo homer to a 1-0 victory.
Yankees pitchers watched Jordan Montgomery’s Cardinals Maddux
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Montgomery’s Statcast profile is still nothing to write home about. It’s unclear what sweeping changes he may have made since changing sides. However, you can’t deny that he’s found a spark that’s endeared him to a new town, and the current Yankees are taking notice.
Bader could shift the narrative once again as he prepares to return (which could come as early as the first week of September). Domingo German dealing since reentering the rotation has also saved Cashman’s bacon; outside of shaky outings against the Astros and Mets, he’s found his sea legs, and really put it all together on Monday night in the Bronx.
But even on a night full of positives, the Yankees turned their attention to Cardinals-Cubs to support an old friend whose departure may not have been the wisest idea, and stings in a different way than the Joey Gallo hot streak in Los Angeles.
Gallo was tortured in New York. Montgomery was family.
As lost as he was by the end, the All-Star slugger’s resurgence in Hollywood makes a lot more sense than Montgomery somehow becoming a Greg Maddux/Tom Glavine hybrid after tipping his pitches and blowing endless 2-0 leads in New York.
Monty’s always been fine, and fine can help soak up necessary stretch-run innings. He might’ve leveled up on Monday, though, which his ex-teammates and current friends couldn’t help but stare at following a German-led victory of their own. Pair that scene with Hal Steinbrenner getting ruthlessly booed at Paul O’Neill’s ceremony Sunday, and you’ve got a picture of discontent.