Counting down the 20 most important Cardinals in 2023: #8 Jordan Montgomery
Why is Jordan Montgomery important in 2023?
When Spring Training began, with guys like Jack Flaherty and Steven Matz using Spring to get back to doing full reps again after injury-riddled 2022 seasons and with Miles Mikolas and Adam Wainwright pitching for Team USA, Montgomery would get a chance to potentially make his case to start on Opening Day. Those chances have since vanished since he has a 7.71 era so far over 2 starts this spring. There is no doubt that he will be in the rotation, it's just up in the air where.
What makes Montgomery important right now to the Cardinals is that he along with Mikolas, are the only two starting pitchers we had last season that had solid seasons, and stayed healthy. What we have seen so far from Flaherty and Matz has been promising and they will be important as well, but Monty is going to have to be one of those guys that eat innings and go deep into games, with the current uncertainties in the rest of the rotation.
It is also important for him personally, to show that last season with us wasn't a fluke. From outside lenses, it seemed like he never got a legit opportunity with the Yankees like the one he currently has now, if he can repeat his numbers with the Cardinals from last season, it can help the Cardinals in the short run and the long run. With the aforementioned uncertainties with the rotation on the health and consistency side, but also on the club control side. As we know Wainwright is retiring after this season, then Mikolas, Flaherty, Hudson, including Montgomery, are all slotted to hit free agency after this season. If Montgomery can impress and be a quality starter for the Cardinals, then possibly he could receive a contract extension before free agency to be a bridge for the current pitching prospects that need to be further developed in the minor leagues.