Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Gumb Luck


The Harrison Bader for Jordan Montgomery trade, at least for a few years, is gonna go down as one of the strangest trades in recent memory. Two competitive teams trading something they should probably conserve for each other, leading to an impeccable August from Montgomery in St. Louis and an incredible October in the Bronx for Bader. The initial repercussions made for a very interesting end to the 2022 season, but, like with the similar deal that swapped Luke Voit for Giovanny Gallegos, I want to see the long term effects.

Jordan Montgomery, for instance, looks to make a rotation that includes Adam Wainwright, Miles Mikolas, Steven Matz and a hopefully healthy Jack Flaherty. Right now he's relatively high up in the depth chart, higher than Flaherty even, but the team also has Matthew Liberatore waiting to strike once he's majors-ready, and could use Andre Pallante in a similar swing role to last year. Also, Dakota Hudson still exists. Montgomery is a durable pitcher who can eat innings, and had some serious upsides with the Cards last year, but as Yankee fans can tell you, those good times come after some waiting time. Montgomery has pitched three seasons where he's made all of, or the majority of, his starts, but those came in between three seasons of injuries. 

And the irony is, you can describe a lot of the Cardinals rotation like that. Oh yeah, durable pitcher except for those seasons in the middle where he isn't. Wainwright famously missed entire seasons and then bounced right back, Mikolas was injured for a few years then came back strong last year, Matz did this a lot with the Mets, and right now is still technically in the midst of Flaherty's 'I'm not gonna make all my starts' period. So honestly, he'll fit right in. The goal, though, is for all of these guys to be healthy and dominant at the same time, and Montgomery seems to be in good shape to accomplish this so far. I reckon he might be the top arm by the end of the season, and Cashman's gonna regret the deal even more.

...which is odd, because I also think Harrison Bader's gonna have a great season. So it'll be pretty equal. Y'know, while I don't think we should have traded Montgomery, I also think we should have gotten Bader anyhow, especially if Benintendi wasn't gonna make it to October. What probably happened is Cashman wanted to give up Gallo, the Cards didn't want Gallo, and they pushed til he relented. And so here we are.

The Cardinals will probably go further in the playoffs this year than they did last year, as people like Willson Contreras and maybe eventually Jordan Walker will ensure that there literally aren't any weak points across the entirety of the roster. Will they infuriate me? Probably, but I still like these guys better than the early 2010s Cardinals because they're deserving of their accolades.

Also, it's just funny that a Cardinals team will now have multiple people named Jordan on it once Walker gets promoted. Like they're just begging me to like them. 

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