Paging Jordan Montgomery! Phillies Need Starting Pitching and Free Agent Jordan Montgomery is still available

Paging Jordan Montgomery! Phillies Need Starting Pitching and Free Agent Jordan Montgomery is still available Nov 1, 2023; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery (52) celebrates after defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks to win the World Series in game five of the 2023 World Series at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports


Philadelphia, the Fightins have a starting pitching problem.

Heading into Spring Training there were questions about the viability of the backend of the Phillies’ pitching rotation.

Would lefty Cristopher Sanchez take the next steps in his development and become a bonafide No. 4 or No. 5 pitcher? Sanchez had a solid 2023 posting a 3.44 ERA with 96 K and a 1.047 WHIP in 99.1 innings pitched. Was the 27-year-old lefty’s 2023 fools gold or a look into the future?

Similar questions faced Taijuan Walker albeit at the opposite end of the spectrum. The 31-year-old led the Phillies in wins last season but pitched to a 4.83 ERA after the 2023 All-Star break. In September, Walker’s ERA ballooned to 5.93 in five starts as the Phillies chased down another MLB Postseason berth. Clearly a liability, Walker didn’t pitch in the Postseason and let everyone know he wasn’t happy about it. 

As Spring Training comes to a close the questions remain unanswered and that’s a major problem for a ball club with World Series Championship aspirations. 

Let’s start with Sanchez, the lefty has only appeared in two-games this spring due to a flu bug that is running rampant in the Phillies’ clubhouse. Sanchez was sharp in his Grapefruit League debut on February 27 against the Minnesota Twins throwing two scoreless innings and striking out one. He didn’t appear again until March 15 against Houston where he was rocked for eight hits and four runs in just over two-innings pitched. Phils’ manager Rob Thomson spoke about the flu issue with SportsRadio WIP and mentioned it was affecting the ramp up of pitchers including Sanchez. There’s a chance Sanchez starts the season in the minors or in extended Spring Training to build up his arm strength and stamina. 

Fine. But, what about Walker?

 Opposing teams have CRUSHED Walker in two Spring Training outings to the tune of eight earned runs in 4.2 innings pitched. As the Phillies radio broadcast aptly stated on Wednesday night, the Baltimore Orioles used Walker for expanded batting practice, crushing three homers in just 2.2 innings. Sure, it’s Spring Training, but for Walker, this is continuation of a trend that presented itself in 2023 and it’s simply not sustainable in 2024. 

Look, the back end of the rotation ain’t cutting it, especially for a team that wants another parade down Broad St. The Phillies need pitching help and it’s just a phone call away. 

Sign Jordan Montgomery

Left hander Jordan Montgomery is the last remaining “big time” free agent that has yet to sign (thanks, Scott Boras!) The 31-year-old is no stranger to the big time having spent parts of six seasons with the New York Yankees and parts of two seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. In case you didn’t know, both of those clubs are a bit of a baseball pressure cooker environment. Oh yeah, he also helped lead the Texas Rangers to their first World Championship in franchise history last season. 

Montgomery is a proven, dependable commodity and the Phillies could really use a dependable commodity. 

Now, what would it cost? That’s the major question. 

Super-agent Scott Boras has held Montgomery back from signing a contract in hopes of driving up his value. Boras did the same with reigning NL Cy Young winner Blake Snell and he was forced to settle for a two-year/$62 million deal with San Francisco. Snell’s deal features an “opt-out” after the 2024 season allowing the lefty to reengage with the free agent market heading into 2025.

That’s a pretty good framework for the Phillies and Montgomery has already accepted the idea of a short-term, opt-out type deal

Montgomery isn’t a two-time Cy Young Award winner so right off the bat (er, pitch?) he won’t be in the $31MM/year ballpark. Could a two-year/$44-48 million deal with an opt-out after the 2024 MLB season get it done? That’s on par with Aaron Nola’s $172MM contract and the Phillies reportedly view Montgomery in similar regards, according to MLB Insider Bob Nightengale

It’s not my money, but $22-24 million to add Montgomery to the rotation seems like a no brainer. 

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