Yankees are ‘looking’ at potential reunion with free agent left-hander

MLB: Kansas City Royals at New York Yankees
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With the Yankees in need of starting pitching, they’ve been heavily linked to star international pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Still, according to Jon Heyman, that isn’t the only top starter they’re looking into. Jordan Montgomery, who was traded back in 2022 for Harrison Bader, is on the Yankees’ radar according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, and the team could be involved in a reunion.

Montgomery is coming off the best season of his career, and is set to net a contract north of $100 million, but could a reunion make sense for both parties?

The Yankees Could Bring Back Reliable Southpaw

MLB: World Series-Texas Rangers at Arizona Diamondbacks
Nov 1, 2023; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery (52) celebrates defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks to win the World Series in game five of the 2023 World Series at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

When the Yankees traded Jordan Montgomery back at the 2022 deadline, they weren’t expecting that he would go on to post a 3.17 ERA across 43 starts. One of the biggest issues the Yankees had last season came from their starting rotation, an area of the team that was expected to be a strength. First and foremost, injuries limited the team to getting 829.2 innings from their rotation, just 19th in volume in 2023. Instead of making up for it with effective innings, they sported a 4.44 ERA, 18th in all of baseball.

Jordan Montgomery tossed 188.2 innings in the regular season with a 3.20 ERA, making 32 starts and excelling in the postseason. The Rangers leaned heavily on the 30-year-old left-hander as injuries ravaged their rotation, and he delivered with a 2.90 ERA in 31 innings en route to Texas’ first World Series title in franchise history. Showing off the ability to handle the postseason not only boosted his market value but also showed an ability to log innings, as in the regular and postseason combined, only Zac Gallen (243.2) tossed more innings.

Durability has been an issue for the Yankees through the years, especially in their rotation, although pitcher injuries as a whole are up. Even workhorses like Sandy Alcantara have suffered severe elbow injuries, and the injuries that Carlos Rodón, Nestor Cortes, Luis Severino, and Frankie Montas all endured last season cost the Yankees big-time in their playoff aspirations.

mlb: arizona diamondbacks at new york yankees, carlos rodon
Sep 24, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Carlos Rodon (55) walks to the dugout after pitching the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY SPORTS

The New York Yankees need to address their offense as well, they were just 25th in Runs Scored, but starting pitching upgrades are needed as well. Their interest in the two top remaining starters would suggest that they’re looking for a pretty notable splash for their rotation, and they could also get a second starter as well, as they’ve shown repeated interest in Frankie Montas as well.

It’s going to need to be a busy offseason for the Yankees, who had their worst season since 1992, although they did still finish above .500. Pressure is mounting, not just from the media, but from fans who are disgruntled with the team and the World Series drought. If the Yankees have a strong enough offseason, fan interest in the team will soar, and while Juan Soto is an obvious move to rejuvenate the fanbase, so would adding a big-time starting pitcher.

Gerrit Cole won the 2023 American League Cy Young and if the Yankees get rebounds from some of their starters while also adding a top-of-the-rotation starter, the team could boast one of the best rotations in baseball. It was a strength for the team in 2022 when they were fourth in ERA (3.51) and second in K-BB% (18.8%), and it could help get them back to the top of the American League East in 2024.