Cubs Urged to Add Projected $75 Million ‘Answer’ for Remaining Hole

Cubs potential signee Jordan Montgomery

Getty Cubs potential signee Jordan Montgomery

In all likelihood, the re-signing of outfielder Cody Bellinger last week is the last major transaction the Cubs will make before Opening Day comes around. They’re getting near the luxury tax and they want to avoid falling into the “repeater” category, so an outright signing of one of the remaining top free agents would only happen if ownership could be convinced it meant a World Series trip.

But maybe they can still sell that chance to the top brass. Certainly, the signing of free-agent pitcher Jordan Montgomery would put them in the frame as a contender, at least as the most likely team to slip into October with a chance to knock off the Dodgers.

That’s the argument made at the Cubbies Crib analysis site, where the pursuit of Cy Young incumbent Blake Snell or Montgomery is being touted. But Montgomery is more realistic.

As analyst Jordan Campbell points out, “If Montgomery is willing to take a three-year deal, or even a two-year deal, but has opt-outs available after each season, that is a deal that the Cubs likely will have interest in.

“Montgomery would provide an answer for the short-term need that the Cubs have at the top of their rotation while still having an opportunity to cash in within the next season or two.”

Cubs Rotation Needs a Stronger No. 2

The key would be for Montgomery to take the same kind of contract that Bellinger and fellow Scott Boras free-agent Matt Chapman (who signed with the Giants) took during Spring Training—a short-term contract loaded with opt-outs. Because Montgomery is a pitcher with a less established track record, maybe an even shorter deal would be ideal for the Cubs.

Montgomery is 31 but has a career record of 38-34 with a 3.68 ERA. He struggled early in his career in New York but has been solid for two years since, going 19-17 with a 3.34 ERA in 64 starts for three teams. He was 3-1 in the Rangers’ playoff run to the championship last fall, with a 2.90 ERA.

Montgomery would give the Cubs a top option as a No. 2 starter behind Justin Steele, with Shota Imanaga slotted in at No. 3. In the early part of the season, the Cubs could stretch out the rotation to get Imanaga accustomed to pitching every five days, which means they’d use three starters on the back end.

Jameson Taillon, Kyle Hendricks and Jordan Wicks could round out the starters.

Jordan Montgomery Could Get $75 Million

Certainly, a short-term deal for Montgomery would be a disappointment after he entered free agency seeking a contract bigger than the seven-year, $172 million deal that Aaron Nola got from the Phillies. That ship has sailed, obviously.

Spotrac places his value at $18.4 million per year, and sees him worthy of a six-year deal worth $110.4 million. That ship has also sailed.

But if Montgomery is willing to go the Bellinger-Chapman route on a new contract, Bleacher Report projects a three-year, $75 million contract to get it done. That still feels high, but reducing the long-term outlay figures to balloon the short-term number.

More likely, the Cubs will stick with the staff they have, give Wicks a long look at a regular role and piece together a sixth starter as needed. But adding Montgomery would make them more serious contenders.



Read More