D-backs introduce LHP Jordan Montgomery

Jeff Vinton
10 Min Read

The D-backs agreed to a one-year, $25 million deal with top free agent Jordan Montgomery, a former Texas Ranger. Here’s what he had to say about joining the Snakes.

PHOENIX — Baseball’s free agent arms race this offseason was focused on the National League West division. The Dodgers brought two-way star Shohei Ohtani across town, signing him from the Angels, the Giants kept reigning NL Cy Young winner Blake Snell in the division by signing him away from the Padres. And the Padres, not to be outdone, traded for star pitcher Dylan Cease from the White Sox. 

The D-backs jumped in the race in December when they signed left-handed pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez to a four-year, $80 million deal and then jumped back in just before the regular season began by signing left-handed pitcher (and World Series champion) Jordan Montgomery to a one-year, $25 million deal.  

RELATED: Family and familiar faces leads Eduardo Rodriguez to the Valley

Montgomery’s deal was agreed to on Tuesday but was pending a physical. The deal became official on Friday and the D-backs introduced Montgomery to media Friday afternoon.  

The signing came together within the past week, but Montgomery isn’t worried about getting a late start with the team. 

“I mean sometimes things don’t work out the way we plan it,” Montgomery said. “I’m not the one creating the plan and just trying to go along with it. So, I’m happy to be a D-back and try to help this team out the best I can.” 

D-backs General Manager Mike Hazen said Montgomery waiting to sign worked out in favor of his new team. 

“It’s a no-brainer for us to be able to add somebody like Jordan to our rotation. His leadership, the things that you hear from people around the game, from his ex-teammates, the people, clubs that he pitched for, it’s pretty universal,” Hazen said. “And so, for us to be able to add somebody like this, we’re very fortunate to be able to do that.”  

Montgomery’s contract includes a vesting option for next season, which means Montgomery would get $20 million guaranteed in the 2025 season if he makes at least 10 starts this year. He will also get the right to opt out of the deal after this season if he makes at least 10 starts. 

If Montgomery makes at least 18 starts, the guaranteed amount for 2025 becomes $22.5 million and if he makes at least 23 starts, it will move up to $25 million. Montgomery has made at least 23 starts in each of the past three seasons.  

RELATED: Diamondbacks appear to have landed the biggest arm in the market

He will slide into either the No. 3 or No. 4 spot in the D-backs’ starting rotation behind Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly and possibly Rodriguez when he returns from a stint on the injured list with a lat strain. Montgomery said he is expecting to make his D-backs debut around April 19, when the D-backs play the Giants in San Francisco, but he’s not focused on when exactly he hits the field. He will start his season with the D-backs AAA affiliate, the Reno Aces.  

“I did everything I could to be prepared,” Montgomery said. “I had a feeling no team was just going to let me go out and just throw five innings like I was prepared for. So, I got up to 75 pitches, five innings twice and did a little de-load week to cruise into where I’m at now.”

The 31-year-old is headed into his eighth Major League season. He was drafted in 2014 by the New York Yankees. He made his MLB debut with the Yankees in 2017 and spent five seasons there before being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals during the 2022 season. 

Montgomery was traded from the Cardinals to the Texas Rangers during the 2023 season and went on to beat the D-backs in the World Series last fall. 

Montgomery pitched Game 2 of the World Series against Arizona and gave up nine hits and four runs. Game 2 was Arizona’s lone win of the series. 

In total, during the 2023 MLB Playoffs, Montgomery was 3-1 with a 2.90 ERA and 17 strikeouts.   

During the 2023 season with the Cardinals and Rangers, Montgomery was 10-11 in 32 starts and had a 3.20 ERA. He threw 166 strikeouts, had a WHIP of 1.192 and a WAR of 4.1.   

Coming off of his first World Series title, Montgomery is excited to join the reigning NL champions. 

“(The D-backs are a) super talented group of guys,” Montgomery said. “You could tell just by the way they were playing all through the playoffs that they’re a tight-knit group and (a) good winning culture. So, I wanted to be a part of it.”  

Montgomery joins a clubhouse with a few familiar faces. He played with first baseman Christian Walker in 2012 at South Carolina, with relief pitcher Joe Mantiply with the New York Yankees’ AAA affiliate, the Scranton-Wilkes Barre RailRiders in 2017 and 2019, and he trained in the offseason with fellow D-backs starting pitcher Brandon Pfaadt in Louisville, Kentucky for two years. 

Both Walker and Pfaadt are excited for Montgomery to be in their dugout this season. 

“I saw that news and I was ecstatic,” Pfaadt said. “I think adding him to our rotation that we already have is going to be beneficial in all circumstances and I think this team knows that and we’re all excited here in a few weeks when he officially joins us.” 

“We took a really, really good staff and made it better,” Walker said. “So, you know, I think the trust and the faith we have in our guys already is only going to grow and when we have another guy of his caliber going out and yeah, I’m excited to play behind him.” 

Montgomery will wear No. 52 for the D-backs. That number was last worn by RHP Ryne Nelson in 2022. Nelson now wears No. 19. Montgomery also wore No. 52 with the Rangers last year. 

Arizona sports 

The city of Phoenix is home to five major professional sports league teams; The NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, NBA’s Phoenix Suns, WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks and NHL’s Arizona Coyotes.

The Cardinals have made State Farm Stadium in Glendale their home turf and the Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix is home to both the Suns and the Mercury. The Indoor Football League’s Arizona Rattlers play at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale. The Coyotes play at Mullett Arena on ASU’s Tempe campus.

Phoenix also has a soccer team with the USL’s Phoenix Rising FC, who play at Phoenix Rising FC Stadium in Phoenix.

The Valley hosts multiple major sporting events on a yearly basis, including college football’s Fiesta Bowl and Guaranteed Rate Bowl; the PGA Tour’s highest-attended event, the WM Phoenix Open; NASCAR events each spring and fall, including Championship Weekend in November; and Cactus League Spring Training for 15 Major League Baseball franchises.

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Jeff Vinton , www.12news.com
KPNX Vivrr Local Feed: sports , 2024-03-30 00:31:49
Categories: diamondbacks,sports,mlb,baseball,local-sports,valley,news,local,arizona,home

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