Why the Yankees made controversial Jordan Montgomery trade, explained

There’s no such thing as too much pitching, unless you’re the New York Yankees. Why did Brian Cashman trade Jordan Montgomery at the deadline?

Montgomery was traded from an excess — at least that’s how Cashman reportedly viewed it.

Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Cashman and the Yankees believe outfielder Harrison Bader to be more valuable than Montgomery through the 2023 postseason.

New York’s rotation, at least on paper, is deep. The likes of Gerrit Cole, Frankie Montas, Nestor Cortes, Jameson Taillon, Luis Severino (when healthy) and more make for a solid starting five. Should New York opt for a six-man rotation, either Domingo German or Clarke Schmidt offer more depth.

That, at least, is the team’s thinking.

However, there are some clear flaws in that judgement. First, most Yankee fans can report that Cole cannot be trusted come the postseason, at least not lately. Taillon and Severino have injury issues. And Montas was just traded, what if he can’t handle New York?

Yankees consider Jordan Montgomery trade worth the risk

Montgomery entered the trade deadline with a 3-3 record, 3.69 ERA and 3.91 FIP. Those are respectable numbers, by any stretch.

Bader, on the other hand, is a former Gold Glove outfielder and a decent bat at his best. He’s slashing .256/.303/.370 at the moment, and is undeniably an asset to any playoff team.

Cashman has earned the trust of fans for moves just like this. When pundits (such as myself) bring trades into question, Cashman is right more times than not.

Yet, even Rosenthal questions the Yanks’ motivation here:

“Earlier this season, Cole said of Montgomery, “the more he pitches, the better he gets.” Over time, Montgomery has gained confidence in his stuff, becoming less afraid to pitch to contact. The change in mentality led to better results — his 4.9 percent walk rate and 14.9 pitches per inning are both the lowest of his career. Yet from the Yankees’ perspective, he still wasn’t good enough.”

Montgomery has postseason experience as well, and would surely have been featured prominently in New York’s bullpen come October.

But it wasn’t meant to be. Instead, the 29-year-old righty could add some much-needed rotation depth to a team in St. Louis which could desperately use it.