As the New York Yankees reassess their strategic moves, one particular trade decision underscores the unpredictability of baseball. The return interest in lefty starter Jordan Montgomery, whom they previously traded, highlights the complexities facing General Manager Brian Cashman.
A Trade to Regret?
In pursuit of defensive excellence, the Yankees traded Montgomery to the St. Louis Cardinals, setting their sights on outfielder Harrison Bader. Despite inheriting Bader’s injury woes, the Yankees’ expectations were high. However, reality fell short, with Bader’s stint culminating in a waiver and a subsequent move to the Cincinnati Reds after an injury-plagued season.
Bader’s underwhelming .240 batting average, .278 OBP, and seven homers across 84 games leave the Bombers scouring for outfield prowess. Yet, as they do so, an old acquaintance impresses on the mound.
Montgomery’s Playoff Mastery: A Painful Irony
Montgomery, flourishing post-trade, has become the postseason’s pitching sensation. His recent dismantling of the Houston Astros — allowing a mere five hits and a walk over 6.1 innings while striking out six — only adds salt to the Yankees’ wound. This stellar performance exacerbates the irony, given the Yankees had deemed him a non-essential for their playoff ambitions.
The pitcher’s season statistics solidify his elevated stature. Splitting his prowess between St. Louis and Texas, Montgomery boasts a 3.42 and 2.79 ERA, respectively, with noteworthy left-on-base percentages. His 2.08 ERA over 17.1 postseason innings further cements his reputation.
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No Hometown Discounts: Montgomery’s Potential Return to the Yankees
Despite their past dismissal, the Yankees might now court Montgomery, an amusingly paradoxical move. The bridge wasn’t just burned; it was nuked, indicating that any deal won’t feature a ‘hometown discount.’ This development sets the stage for an intriguing offseason.
Weighing Options: Yamamoto Enters the Fray
Yet, Montgomery isn’t the sole target on Cashman’s radar. Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Japan’s pitching marvel, looms as an enticing, albeit expensive, alternative. The right-hander’s prospective MLB debut carries a hefty tag, potentially surpassing $200 million.
The decision isn’t straightforward. With Carlos Rodon and Nestor Cortés adding flavor to their pitching staff, the Yankees aren’t desperate. But Yamamoto offers youth and a right-hand advantage, whereas Montgomery is a familiar, proven entity.
As speculation mounts, Cashman’s choice will pivot on financial flexibility and risk appetite. Montgomery’s resurgence and Yamamoto’s promising allure present a high-stakes gamble, the outcome of which could redefine the Yankees’ future trajectory.