The New York Yankees, under general manager Brian Cashman, have experienced their fair share of trade blues in recent years. However, the spotlight today is on one particular trade – the acquisition of outfielder Harrison Bader. While Bader arrived in the Bronx with fanfare and hopes, a recurring nemesis followed him: injuries.
Bader’s Brief Stint with the Yankees
Bader’s injury history once again came to haunt him this season. He managed only 98 games, 84 of those with the Yankees. After joining the Yankees from the St. Louis Cardinals in 2022, he had only been able to feature in 14 games due to a lingering plantar fasciitis injury. Despite this, his playoff performance was stellar, knocking five homers in just nine games, creating a buzz about his potential regular-season prowess.
Yet, Bader’s batting stats didn’t shine this season. With an average of .240, an OBP of .278, seven homers, 37 RBIs, and a wRC+ of 76, his offensive game was underwhelming. After joining the Yankees, his form with Cincinnati wasn’t great either, eventually going down with another injury.
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The One That Got Away: Jordan Montgomery
In sealing the Bader deal, the Yankees had to let go of lefty starter Jordan Montgomery. Montgomery’s stats paint a picture of what the Yankees missed out on. Last year with the Yankees, he recorded a 3.69 ERA over 114.2 innings and ended the season with a 3.11 ERA across 63.2 innings. After his move to Texas this past trade deadline, Montgomery’s form soared, recording a 2.79 ERA in 67.2 innings, and he’s been strong in the postseason, too, with a 3.27 ERA.
In essence, Montgomery emerged as one of the top starting pitchers, and the Yankees missed out big time. The initial reasoning behind the trade was that Montgomery might not make a significant impact in the postseason, and Bader, despite his injury, was seen as an immediate game-changer.
The Domino Effect
Letting Montgomery go had a cascading effect. This led the Yankees to commit to Carlos Rodon with a whopping six-year, $162 million deal. If Montgomery had stayed, the Yankees might not have felt the need for another lefty starter, potentially saving them a significant amount.
This Bader-Montgomery trade serves as a reflection of several questionable decisions by Cashman that contributed to the Yankees’ rocky 2023 season. The road to redemption in 2024 will demand shrewd trades, impeccable strategies, and a series of wins in their deals.