The New York Yankees' season is over. They lost 80 games for the first time since 1992. Aaron Judge had some brutally honest things to say after they lost Game 162 to the lowly Kansas City Royals. They'll be watching the playoffs from the couch (hopefully in a dark, dark basement where they can reflect on all the wrong they have done).
And come Wednesday, they'll be able to enjoy Jordan Montgomery starting Game 1 of the Wild Card series against the Tampa Bay Rays. Yup. Jordan Montgomery. Famously, the man who Brian Cashman said wouldn't be pitching postseason innings for the Yankees last year when the GM heartlessly shipped him out of town for an injured Harrison Bader.
Montgomery has since dominated in spite of Cashman and the Yankees, which is what many former players do once they depart the Bronx. This time, though, it's not a former jaded star enraging Yankees fans in new threads with a magical, unexpected turnaround we could've never imagined in pinstripes. With the way things ended with Monty, fans are very much on his side.
Also, the left-hander has always possessed this kind of potential. It's no surprise seeing him maximize it elsewhere, but it's an all-too-common theme with underwhelming or failed Yankees players.
During his time with New York, he definitely had frustrating moments, but he was always viewed as an asset -- just not one as valuable as he's become with St. Louis and Texas.
Jordan Montgomery getting Game 1 playoff start for Rangers magnifies Yankees' woes
He further magnified that sentiment when talking to The Athletic (subscription required) after the Rangers' matchup with the Rays was set.
"Yeah, I’m sure they saw the potential. They might have given up on me, but I think it was the best thing for me to get to the Cardinals and get set up with Mad Dog (pitching coach Mike Maddux, who this season joined the Rangers). Our pitching philosophies are much closer."- Jordan Montgomery
How many more times must we revisit this? We guess as long as Montgomery continues to log more achievements, we'll be subjected to this coverage. Every time he mentions the Yankees, whether it's a direct shot or not, it will be covered.
While we're not ignoring the fact he's getting the nod for the WC Series opener because of the injuries to Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, as well as the declining play of Nathan Eovaldi, Montgomery went on an absolute heater to close out the year, which helped the Rangers get into the postseason.
In August and September, he went 4-2 with a 2.79 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 58 strikeouts in 11 starts (67.2 innings). Though it's the Rangers' fault for only winning four of those starts, the Yankees have greatly suffered without him.
New York had one pitcher who made 14 or more starts with an ERA under 4.56. It was Gerrit Cole. The Yankees had one pitcher with 150 or more strikeouts. It was Gerrit Cole. The Yankees had one starter with a FIP below 4.42. It was Gerrit Cole. And Cashman thought an injured Frankie Montas would be better than Montgomery, who has since been an All-Star-caliber pitcher after leaving the Yankees (43 starts, 3.17 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 227 strikeouts).
Cashman thought Domingo Germán would be better, too. Cashman had more faith in Clarke Schmidt. Luis Severino, too! He's been injured without fail since the second half of the 2018 season! At least, that was all implicit the moment he traded Montgomery. The Yankees have had to convert Michael King into a starter because of the rotation issues, which will hurt their bullpen in 2024. The issues go on and on.
And once again, Monty won't be logging postseason innings for the Yankees, but not for the reason Cashman initially believed.