Why Yankees traded Jordan Montgomery to Cardinals for Harrison Bader

A day after trading for Frankie Montas to bolster their rotation, the Yankees subtracted one of their most consistent starters just before the trade deadline.

The Yankees traded left-hander Jordan Montgomery to the Cardinals on Tuesday in exchange for outfielder Harrison Bader and a player to be named later or cash consideration.

Bader is currently on the disabled list with plantar fasciitis and a walking boot. That could delay his Yankees debut until September, general manager Brian Cashman said. When Bader is available, the Yankees will get a strong defensive center and speed threat who is also under contract through next season.

But that came at the expense of Montgomery, the home pitcher who was visibly emotional and still in shock about an hour after the trade ended.

“I didn’t acquire Montas so I could move Monty,” Cashman said after the deadline expired. “My team and I entered the export and import business acquiring market trying to understand the overall ecosystem of this list and what best fits a plan for October and how could we best fly high to the best of our abilities when it matters most in October and what gives us the most quality choices? That’s what went into every decision we made.

Jordan Montgomery
Corey Sipkins

“So we are excited about what Bader can bring us. We have to wait, we understand that. But that came at the expense of a quality choice we already had.

The trade capped off a busy few days for Cashman – who filled holes in left field (Andrew Benintendi), rotation (Montas) and the bullpen (Scott Effross and Lou Trivino) while trading Joey Gallo to the Dodgers .

“Most of it is just kind of sad to see a guy [leave] who you love and have been through a lot with and that has done a lot for this team and this organization,” manager Aaron Boone said after an 8-6 loss to the Mariners. “Coming out of nowhere today where this is happening, it’s hard to break this news and say goodbye.”

Even after acquiring Montas from the Athletics on Monday, the Yankees continued to explore adding another starting pitcher before the deadline, Cashman said. Joel Sherman of the Post and Jon Heyman reported that the Yankees were on Marlins right-hander Pablo Lopez, though a deal never materialized.

Instead, the Yankees will move forward with a rotation of Gerrit Cole, Montas, Jameson Taillon, Nestor Cortes and Domingo German before hoping a healthy Luis Severino joins them in mid-September when he will be eligible to exit IL for 60 days. They also have another option in Clarke Schmidt at Triple-A, though they’ve drained much of their starting depth beyond that of trades over the past few days.

“I’m confident [in the rotation]”, Cashman said. “My job is always to worry, but I believe in the guys we have.

Harrison Bader
Harrison Bader
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Montgomery, who was drafted by the organization in 2014, seemed crushed not to be part of that rotation going forward.

“It’s my family. That’s all I know,” said Montgomery, who had a 3.69 ERA in 21 starts this season. “I still don’t think I played like I should have here “I’m a much better player than I’ve ever shown the fans. But I think I was consistent and gave the team a chance to win.

The Yankees could face Montgomery this weekend in St. Louis because it would be his turn to pitch against them.

But they will have to wait for Bader, whom Cashman called “one of the elite defenders in the center of the game”. His presence will allow the Yankees to play Aaron Judge more consistently in right field. Bader, 28, a Bronxville native who won a Gold Glove in 2021, was batting .256/.303/.370 with 15 steals in 72 games this year.

The Yankees entered baseball’s best record on Tuesday, but that didn’t entice Cashman to stick with it.

“At the end of the day, our record through August 2 won’t guarantee us anything in October,” Cashman said. “It’s the accumulation of talent, keeping it healthy and playing to the maximum of its ability. Just because we played baseball exceptionally well until August 1st… doesn’t mean we can relax and assume it continues that way.


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