Jordan Montgomery already looks like trade deadline coup and appears ready to lead the St. Louis Cardinals into the postseason.
The trade that sent Harrison Bader to the New York Yankees for left-handed starter Jordan Montgomery sent shockwaves throughout baseball. But for the St. Louis Cardinals, it was the move they felt stabilized their rotation in 2022 and beyond.
Through two starts, that calculation looks spot on. Montgomery has shined in performances against the Yankees and Milwaukee Brewers, pitching 11 scoreless innings while allowing only six hits and three walks. The rotation, combined with Jose Quintana, now looks like a strength, and puts the team as a whole among the National League elite.
Montgomery, 29, was a relative unknown among Cardinals players when he came to St. Louis. Both Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that they knew little to nothing about Montgomery before the trade. But he has quickly endeared himself to the clubhouse, with Montgomery saying: “Coming in and having them reach their arms out, making sure I feel welcome, is great. They’ve made it easy for me to fit in. … The Cardinals brought me over to face good teams. And I’m ready for it.”
So far, Montgomery has shown he’s up for the task. And from here on out, his starts become even more important. Entering Sunday, the Cardinals are only 0.5 games ahead of the Brewers in the NL Central, meaning there is little room for error. But he has experience in these moments. Pitching in the Bronx has prepared him for this. This is nothing he isn’t used to.
And that’s part of why the Cardinals felt comfortable trading Bader, a Gold Glove center fielder with an improving offensive game. Of course, Dylan Carlson’s emergence played into the decision as well. But Montgomery performing so well this season – 3.37 ERA in 125.2 innings pitched – was the key factor.
And it hasn’t taken him long to settle in – and it very well could be what not only leads the Cardinals to a division title, but deep into the postseason as well.