New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman pulled off quite a surprise ahead of Tuesday's MLB trade deadline, as he elected to send starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Harrison Bader.
The move brought many to speculate that Cashman was planning to then complete a late deal for a starting pitcher, especially as the Yankees were linked with Miami Marlins hurler Pablo Lopez. However, Frankie Montas wound up being the lone addition to the starting rotation of the current AL East leaders.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal provided clarity on the Yankees’ call to part ways with Montgomery. He noted that the Yankees did not necessarily believe that Montgomery, who is under team control for one more year, was going to be included in their upcoming playoff rotation.
The Yankees also pulled the trigger on the deal because they “believe” that Bader is an “elite” center fielder. They aimed to bolster their outfield defense and viewed the one-time Gold Glove Award winner, who is currently sidelined due to a right foot injury, as a solution to this matter.
On Cashman's part, as he noted following the trade deadline, he is looking forward to seeing just what Hader can bring to the team out in the field.
“Harrison Bader is one of the elite center field defenders in the game,” Cashman said. “He provides a lot of lanes for our manager when he’s healthy. Certainly, we did a deep dive into his medicals and there’s a lot of optimism and belief that sometime in September we’ll be able to unpack that present and deploy him … whether it’s coming off the bench to steal a bag or as a starting option in the outfield.
“It’s hard to get your hands on someone of that caliber, and unfortunately it cost us one of our homegrown players in Jordan Montgomery.”
Bader featured in 523 total games over his run with the Cardinals, where he posted a .246 batting average and tallied a 5.4 dWAR, per Baseball Reference.
For now, Montgomery is set to make his Cardinals debut on Saturday against the Yankees, as the AL East powerhouse will counter with starting pitcher Domingo German in the matchup.