Yankees’ backup pitching plan may be World Series-winning lefty

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The New York Yankees are rumored to be considering a significant investment in their starting rotation this off-season, with the final decision hinging on their willingness to spend big.

The High Stakes for Star Pitcher Yamamoto

If General Manager Brian Cashman decides to pursue star international pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the team could be looking at an expenditure upward of $200 million. Yamamoto, regarded as one of the premier arms available, has generated substantial excitement after a dominant season in Japan’s JPPL.

Competition and Familiar Faces

The Yankees are expected to face stiff competition for Yamamoto’s signature, with teams like the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers also in the mix. However, the Yankees may opt for a more familiar asset. They could turn to their former pitcher, 30-year-old Jordan Montgomery, who recently won the World Series with Texas.

This development is particularly ironic given that the Yankees traded away Montgomery because they doubted his ability to contribute in the playoffs, yet he just proved instrumental in a World Series victory, boasting a 2.90 ERA with an 82% left-on-base rate and a 41.3% ground ball rate over 31 innings pitched in the postseason.

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Oct 3, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery (52) reacts after striking out Tampa Bay Rays pinch hitter Junior Caminero (1) to end the seventh inning during game one of the Wildcard series for the 2023 MLB playoffs at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Montgomery’s Potential Return to the Yankees

Montgomery is poised to secure a lucrative contract extension and has been mentioned as a possible alternative to Yamamoto for the Yankees. Despite being traded earlier, the left-handed starter has expressed that there are no hard feelings toward his former team.

“I’ve got no bad blood,” Montgomery said. “The Yankees drafted me, gave me [six] good years of being in the big leagues. I’ve got a lot of really good relationships still over there. Media can try to stir up as much bad blood, but I got nothing but respect for them.”

After the trade, he delivered impressive performances with the St. Louis Cardinals, maintaining a 3.42 ERA over 121 innings, and excelled with Texas, where he achieved a 2.79 ERA, an 80.8% left-on-base rate, a 41.1% ground-ball rate, and averaged 7.71 strikeouts per nine innings across 67.2 innings.

Montgomery’s success may convince the Yankees that he could return as a much-improved and more confident player. His experience on a World Series-winning team could provide valuable insights and strategies to help the Yankees rebound from a disappointing 2023 season.

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