It’s been just a couple of weeks, but as of now, the Yankees’ starting rotation is weaker since the Aug. 2 major league trade deadline passed.
Jordan Montgomery, who the Yankees traded to the Cardinals for outfielder Harrison Bader on the final day of the deadline, is 3-0 in three starts since joining St. Louis. On the other hand, Frankie Montas — who the Yankees acquired in a trade with the Oakland A’s in the hope he would fit nicely as the No. 2 starter behind Gerrit Cole — has struggled mightily in his first three starts with the Bombers.
Montgomery (6-3, 3.29 ERA) led the Cardinals to a 5-1 win over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night, giving up one run on six hits in 5²/₃ innings to go along with eight strikeouts. The left-hander, who was surprised the Yankees traded him, is 3-0 with an 0.54 ERA in three starts with St. Louis. He has struck out 17 and walked just three in 16²/₃ innings.
“I’m a competitor trying to win every game I go out there,” Montgomery said after the win. “I want to be a guy this team can rely on. I’ve had pretty good stuff. My changeup and curveball are statistically pretty good. I’m learning how to use my fastball around it.”
Montgomery also said he holds no no animosity toward the Yankees.
“Part of the business is getting traded,” said Montgomery, who beat his former teammates in his first start with the Cardinals. “I know what I’m worth and I think the Cardinals know what I’m worth.”
As for Montas, it has been a nightmarish start in pinstripes. The right-hander was shelled Thursday night, allowing six runs and eight hits in six innings in the Yankees’ 9-2 loss to the Blue Jays in The Bronx.
In three starts since joining the Yankees from the Athletics, Montas is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA and has given up 14 earned runs on 18 hits and six walks across 14 innings. The 29-year-old, who often pitched in hard luck while with Oakland, is now 4-10 with a 3.87 ERA on the season.
“I want to go out there and do my best,” Montas said after Thursday’s ugly outing. “This is not my best.”
The Yankees need Montas to pan out and be a positive factor down the stretch, especially after giving up four good minor league prospects, including three pitchers to the A’s, in the trade.
In exchange for Montas, Oakland received highly-considered pitching prospects Ken Waldichuk (ranked fifth in the Yankees’ system by MLB Pipeline), Luis Medina (No. 10) and lefty JP Sears — as well as infielder Cooper Bowman (No. 20). Sears had been a key contributor to the Yankees’ staff this season as an effective spot starter and reliever.
The Yankees also are hoping the Montgomery-Bader deal starts to even out when the Gold Glove center fielder, who is rehabbing a foot injury, is able to play for the Bombers before the end of the season.
Bader said he is anxious to begin his Yankees career and prove to the fans was worth trading for.
“It’s very difficult. It’s definitely been a challenge,” Bader said Tuesday. ”You know, walking in here in a boot, I’m sure everybody was like, ‘We just traded for this guy in a boot? Are you serious?’
“But listen, there’s always a greater perspective involved and I think I’m definitely here for a reason. I’m just focused on getting healthy so I can be effective for this team. That’s always the plan. … It will be worth it, because there will be a time when I will be able to put these pinstripes on and do what I do. I’m excited for that.”
— with AP