Why the Yankees Traded Jordan Montgomery

As a huge fan of Jordan Montgomery, I was bummed about the trade of Monty to St Louis for super defensive centerfielder Harrison Bader.

I’m a huge fan of Montgomery for the following reasons:

  • I’m a fan of any pitcher from the Yankee system — they are Yankees through-and-through and good starting pitchers are a rare breed.
  • Montgomery reminded me of Andy Pettitte — not that he was as good as Pettitte — Monty has not yet reached the ‘next level’ where he becomes a pitcher who wins a lot of games. But Monty is

a) a 6’6 lefty like Pettitte (6’5),

b) from the Yankee system, and

c) like Pettitte came up to little fanfare — Monty going 9-7 3.88 as a rookie was little talked about, just like Pettitte in his rookie season when he went 12-9 4.17

  • Monty is a good pitcher — this year he’s 3-3 3.69 but notoriously never gets run support. If he got run support this year he’d be something like 7-3 at least. Monty’s WHIP on leaving NY is 1.099, 4th highest on the Yanks and just behind Cortes’s 1.018, Cole’s 1.043, and Severino’s 1.070. His WHIP is better than Jameson Taillon‘s 1.161. All of those WHIPs are excellent. Monty has been amongst the AL leaders in swing-miss rate.

Monty himself was devastated by the trade.

Head Scratching Questions

All of that has left many Yankee fans scratching their heads on why Montgomery was traded.

  • Starting pitching is always a premium and the Yankees now seem a little light in that department as they head into the playoffs.
  • Luis Severino is out on the 60-day IL with right shoulder stiffness. He is scheduled to return in September but one might thing NY would use him in relief again for the playoffs.
  • They traded Monty for a great defensive centerfielder — but they already have Tim Locastro and plus Aaron Judge has been playing center — and playing it well defensively — and when Judge plays center it opens up the lineup: Giancarlo Stanton can play right field, and he seems to hit better when he’s in as a fielder.
  • The Yankees kept Domingo German and traded Monty — and that caused a lot of Yankee fans to scratch their heads.

Why the Yanks Traded Monty

In post trade press conferences, GM Brian Cashman was not extremely explanative as to why the trade was made — simply saying St Louis needed a starting pitcher, and the Yanks felt they had gotten an excellent defensive centerfielder.

But it was a single Yankee move that provided explanation: Clarke Schmidt was sent down to AAA to lengthen out and get back to Starting pitcher form. Schmidt has been pitching great this year — and recently replaced Michael King in a setup role — pitching two outings of 3-inning shutout relief to get saves.

As best can be figured at this point — the Yankees traded Monty because:

  • It may be as simple as — Frankie Montas replaced Monty in the starting staff and NY feels Severino WILL rejoin the starting rotation in September. Severino is reported to have been pissed he was put on the 60-day IL — he is feeling good.
  • NY may feel Clarke Schmidt has arrived. He is the former #16 pick in the 2017 draft and has been a high prospect in the Yankee organization since then. This year he’s pitching his best ball.

  • If Schmidt is targeted for the starting rotation — someone has to leave it. The Yankee trade for Frankie Montas gives them a starter to replace Monty. If Luis Severino does not return to the starting rotation this year — and instead the Yanks use him in relief — then Schmidt takes a spot in the rotation. The insurance for now is Domingo German.
  • Monty has not yet at age 29 figured out how to get to the next level and win a lot of games, and NY may feel he may never get to that next level. Monty is 29 now, having missed a few years with Tommy John and then the COVID season. He doesn’t get run support, but even when he does, seems to have a bad game or not get through the 5th and still not get a win.
  • Monty has not pitched well in his last few starts. Given a 2-0 lead in the top of the 1st against the Mets last week, he allowed 4 runs in the bottom of the 1st. Typical Monty — when the Yanks give him runs, he coughs up the lead anyway.
  • Domingo German has figured out how to pitch deep enough into games and have the moxie to win — going 18-4 4.03 in 2019.
  • The move allows the Yanks to leave Aaron Hicks unprotected on the 40-man roster for Rule 5 purposes in November because Bader is there for centerfield. Had Monty stayed, NY would need to protect Montas and Monty and possibly Hicks. Now they protect Montas and Bader and leave Hicks unprotected.
  • Fans in St Louis were just as pissed about losing Bader as many Yankee fans were of losing Monty. Bader is supposed to be a spectacular defensive centerfielder who plays with an energy and enthusiasm that’s made him a huge fan favorite in St Louis. Offensively, Bader is so-so. He’s averaged 16-42-.246 (.320 OBP) per 162 games for the Cardinals. He’s 28 years old. But next year the Shift becomes illegal — this should produce higher batting averages and higher ERA’s. The Yanks may feel they are selling high on Monty, and buying low on Bader.

It’s easy to predict the past and hard to predict the future — so we’ll see how the above pans out.


As luck would have it — the Yankees played St Louis 3 days after the trade — even though St Louis is in the National League and the two teams only face each other every few years.

Jordan Montgomery was faced against Domingo German — and Monty shut the Yankees out through 5 innings to beat them 1-0, “not necessarily” telling Brian Cashman through his performance, to “Go Fuck Yourself.”

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Thoughts? Comments? Please provide your opinion below.


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