The Yankees’ Jordan Montgomery trade has not aged well

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Owners of a dreadful 11-20 record since the All-Star break, the Yankees, to put it lightly, have hit a rough patch, bearing little resemblance to the first-half juggernaut that looked like it would cruise to homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. The Yankees have recently shown signs of life, winning their last two games including a 4-2 triumph over Max Scherzer and the NL East-leading Mets Monday night at Yankee Stadium. New York should also benefit from the imminent return of Giancarlo Stanton (out since July with Achilles tendinitis), though the Bombers’ second-half swoon has left them little margin for error, particularly with the vaunted Astros—winners of three of the last five American League pennants—hurtling toward another first-place finish.

With New York doing all it can to ward off another late-season collapse, the Yankees could sure use a stabilizing force in their starting rotation, a trusted arm with the kind of poise and veteran experience to keep things from going awry, especially in the dog days of summer when fatigue and self-doubt are at their most prevalent. The bitter irony is that the Yankees had that player and, for reasons unbeknownst to anyone but GM Brian Cashman, traded him for a career underachiever (oft-injured outfielder Harrison Bader) who hasn’t played in almost two months.

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Jordan Montgomery’s resurgence continued with another gem Monday night at Wrigley Field, where the 29-year-old held the Cubs to a single hit over nine shutout innings, needing just 99 pitches to go the distance (stat geeks would call that a “Maddux”). The Cardinals left-hander has been unstoppable of late, winning each of his four starts with a dominant 0.35 ERA over 25 2/3 innings. He’s been downright ruthless to opposing hitters, limiting them to a .149 average with 24 strikeouts in 91 plate appearances.

Meanwhile, deadline acquisition Frankie Montas, the Yankees’ fallback after losing out to Seattle in the Luis Castillo sweepstakes, has been an enormous disappointment, logging a disastrous 9.00 ERA through three lackluster starts. Transitioning from the relative low stakes of Oakland to the bright lights of New York City is never an easy adjustment, a culture shock that inevitably comes with growing pains. But is his upside that much higher than Montgomery’s? They’re virtually the same age (Montgomery is three months older) with near-identical ERAs (3.86 for Montas compared to Montgomery’s career 3.76).

Three weeks is obviously much too early to determine who won or lost a trade, but with Bader nowhere to be found and Montgomery emerging as a legitimate ace, it sure feels like the Yankees got fleeced.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Michael Reaves, Getty Images