Jordan Montogmery became a Texas Rangers legend in October, putting up a dominant postseason that featured 6.1 shutout innings in Game 1 of the ALCS and 2.1 scoreless innings in relief in Game 7. The 30-year-old had a 10-11 record with a 3.20 ERA with 166 strikeouts and 48 walks in 188.2 regular-season innings between St. Louis and Texas — numbers that could put him in line for a hefty payday in free agency. Here’s a look at five teams that should be all-in on the big southpaw.
Jordan Montgomery free agent landing spots
5. Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles put together an incredible 2023 campaign, as they won 101 games and brought playoff baseball back to Baltimore. What makes it even more remarkable is that they did it without a true ace. Kyle Gibson led the team in innings, but he had a 4.73 ERA. While Kyle Bradish (2.83 ERA) and Tyler Wells (3.64) both started to emerge, neither one of them has a frontline track record. Enter Montgomery, a durable left-hander who will immediately become the team’s No. 1 pitcher and workhorse — which could end helping the team in more ways than one, since closer Felix Bautista will be out for all of 2024 after having Tommy John surgery. The more innings Montgomery eats up, the less their inexperienced bullpen will have to cover.
4. Atlanta Braves
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The Braves didn’t have enough pitching to go deep into October last season. Atlanta was the best team in baseball last season but got upended by the Phillies in October thanks to subpar starting pitching. Montgomery’s already proven he’s not scared of the postseason lights, and would likely be Atlanta’s No. 3 behind Spencer Strider and Max Fried.
3. St. Louis Cardinals
This is where things get interesting. In a new report for the New York Post, MLB insider Jon Heyman wrote that Montgomery is believed to prefer a return to the Cardinals, Rangers or Yankees — the three teams he’s previously played for. The Cardinals are going to retool their roster this offseason after only winning 71 games last year, and a reunion with Montogmery makes sense. Veterans Miles Mikolas and Steven Matz will be back for the Cardinals but neither of them are aces, and after that the team’s starting options consist of untested prospects who didn’t look great in 2023. The Cardinals will be in on all of the starting pitchers in this year’s market, and I could see them pivoting back towards Montgomery if they miss out one on of the bigger names.
2. New York Yankees
Montgomery had a 3.94 ERA in his six seasons in the Bronx before being dealt to the Cardinals at the 2022 Trade Deadline after Brian Cashman said that Montgomery wouldn’t make a difference in the postseason. Now he’ll have to shell out a nine-figure deal to get Montgomery in the hopes he’ll help get the team back to the playoffs at all. Life’s funny sometimes. There’s no doubting the Yankees will be all-in on Blake Snell, Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Aaron Nola, but Montgomery will still fit into their plans, either as a backup plan or as a reinforcement. Now it’s just a matter of if Montgomery would want to go back to the team that never seemed to fully appreciate him even before it traded him away.
1. Texas Rangers
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? A return to Texas makes almost too much sense for Montgomery. He just won a World Series with them, and would slide into a rotation that’s going to get Jacob deGrom back at some point in 2024. Montgomery spoke highly of the Rangers organization, but it’s unclear if he’d take any kind of discount to return there. Still, I’d imagine the Rangers will be in his free agency courtship until the very end, with money to burn and a need in the rotation.