Ex-Yankees pitcher has become a valuable trade piece

New York Yankees, Jordan Montgomery
Jul 26, 2022; New York City, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery (47) reacts during the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In a noteworthy move at the 2022 trade deadline, the New York Yankees bolstered their defensive lineup by securing centerfielder Harrison Bader from the St. Louis Cardinals.

Bader’s Disappointing Performance in the 2023 Season

Unfortunately, a year later, Bader is witnessing a challenging 2023 season. His batting average is modest at .249, with a .280 on-base percentage (OBP), including seven home runs and 32 RBIs, and a weighted runs created plus (wRC+) of 91. His performance has been further impeded by two separate stints on the injured list, and recently, he had to miss several weekend games due to an injury from a hit-by-pitch.

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Bader’s Likely Transition to Free Agency and the Yankees’ Requirements

Considering Bader’s history of frequent injuries, it seems probable that the 29-year-old centerfielder will move toward free agency without an extension offer from the Yankees. Despite Bader’s impressive record of six defensive runs saved and seven outs above average, the Yankees are in need of a more consistently high-performing offensive player at the position.

Jordan Montgomery: The Trade-Off for Acquiring Bader

To bring Bader to their team, the Yankees had to let go of Jordan Montgomery, an experienced left-handed pitcher. Now, Montgomery has become a valuable trade asset for the Cardinals, who are predicted to be sellers at the trade deadline.

Montgomery’s Stellar Performance and Expected High Value in the Market

Montgomery has proven his worth by earning a 3.37 ERA, 8.22 strikeouts per nine innings, a 72.5% left-on-base rate, a 45.2% ground ball rate, and a 9.7% HR/FB ratio over 115 innings. His performance this season has been one of his best professionally, as demonstrated when he gave a stunning performance against the Yankees on June 2, pitching 6.2 innings with just two hits and no earned runs. Montgomery is expected to fetch high value on the open market as free agency approaches this off-season.

Montgomery’s Value for the Cardinals as per Mike Axisa

As CBS Sports’ Mike Axisa suggests, Montgomery could be one of the Cardinals’ best trade assets. “Workhorse lefties are always in demand, and Montgomery has big-market experience after all his years with the Yankees. St. Louis won’t have much trouble drumming up interest in Montgomery, who will become a free agent after the season. Expect a bidding war,” he says.

Bader’s Current Status as a Liability and His Performance in July

Despite Montgomery’s increasing value for St. Louis, Bader seems to be more of a liability at this point in the season. Particularly in July, the veteran outfielder has struggled with a batting average of just .204 and a .250 OBP, alongside 15 strikeouts and only two walks.

Remarkably, Bader has managed to walk only six times over 177 at-bats, resulting in a career-low walk rate of 3.2%.