Yankees made a huge mistake trading away lefty starting pitcher

mlb: los angeles angels at texas rangers, yankees, jordan montgomery
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have made several head-scratching moves in recent seasons, but one transaction that they likely regret is trading left-handed starter Jordan Montgomery in exchange for the injury-prone outfielder Harrison Bader.

Bader’s Short-lived Stint with the Yankees

Bader’s tenure with the Yankees was short-lived, as he was eventually waived by the team during the past season, subsequently finding himself with the Cincinnati Reds. Unfortunately for Bader, he once again succumbed to injury. During his time with New York in 2022, Bader played only 14 games, and in the following season, he managed just 84 games, underscoring his unreliability as a player.

In 2023, Bader’s performance included a batting average of .240 and an OBP of .278. He hit seven home runs, recorded 37 RBIs, and stole 17 bases. While his strikeout rate decreased, his inability to draw walks and reach base consistently made him a liability for the Yankees. As a result, the Yankees have decided to move on and seek a more productive offensive player to fill their centerfield position.

Looking Ahead: The Search for Centerfield Stability

It appears that Jasson Dominguez holds the future of the centerfield position for the Yankees. However, Dominguez is recovering from Tommy John surgery and won’t be able to play until at least June of the upcoming year. Given this situation, the Yankees are expected to explore options during the off-season to supplement their roster. Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier emerges as a suitable candidate for a short-term contract to bolster the team and address any weaknesses.

Montgomery’s Remarkable Turnaround

On the flip side, Jordan Montgomery enjoyed a stellar season split between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers. He pitched a career-high 188.2 innings, posting a 3.42 ERA with St. Louis and an impressive 2.79 ERA with Texas. Montgomery’s performance was highlighted by his career-low home run rate, surrendering just 0.86 home runs per nine innings and boasting a 9.3% HR/FB ratio.

The Bronx Bombers could have greatly benefited from Montgomery’s presence in their rotation, particularly since their pitching staff was plagued by injuries. Nestor Cort├ęs missed substantial portions of the season, Domingo German faced time on the restricted list, Luis Severino experienced injuries, and Frankie Montas was virtually absent for the entire season.

A Costly Trade for the Yankees

In hindsight, the trade that sent Montgomery to other teams in exchange for an oft-injured outfielder who failed to contribute effectively is just one example of the questionable acquisitions and trades that General Manager Brian Cashman has overseen. It’s no surprise that the front office is currently undergoing a major overhaul this off-season, with the hope of implementing critical changes to their strategies.

The New York Yankees find themselves reflecting on a costly trade that sent away a valuable pitcher in Jordan Montgomery, while receiving an outfielder in Harrison Bader who struggled with injuries and failed to meet expectations. This trade represents only one of several controversial moves that have prompted the organization to reassess its approach and seek improvements for the future.