April 18, 2024

The Chicago Cubs have shown a willingness to spend large to strengthen their postseason chances in the near future, signing Cody Bellinger for $80 million and Shota Imanaga for $53 million.

However, their offseason spending may not be ended yet, as an anonymous MLB competitor told the New York Post’s Jon Heyman that the Cubs are a good fit for free-agent southpaw Jordan Montgomery, who is expected to sign a six-year, $110 million contract, according to Sportrac.

“Monty would be perfect for the Cubs,” the person stated. “They can afford him.”
Heyman went on to say that, even after signing Bellinger, the Cubs “still look like barely the cream of a middling NL Central,” implying that the team may benefit from another large acquisition to maximize their previous investments.

Jordan Montgomery Could Lead the Chicago Cubs Rotation

Even after losing Marcus Stroman to the New York Yankees in free agency, starting pitching does not appear to be a significant weakness for the organization. The rotation will be led by Justin Steele and Imanaga, making it relatively strong at the top.

“I suspect some teams are going to kick themselves that the Cubs got Imanaga this cheaply,” Dan Szymborki wrote for FanGraphs, with the site’s ZiPS model predicting a close division race. “ZiPS is projecting a skosh of regression from Justine Steele, but some of that is simply the realities of projecting pitchers; both Imanaga and Steele fall just outside of the top 10 in NL starter projections, but with inning counts that are a little behind the league’s elite.”

Montgomery, on the other hand, would very certainly rise to the top of that list, especially in terms of inning counts.

Montgomery has a 3.68 ERA in seven major league seasons and 140 career starts. In 2023, he had a 3.20 ERA for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers, leading them to a World Series championship. He is regarded as a relatively durable workhorse, having tossed at least 157 innings in each of the previous three seasons.

What Kind of Deal Will Jordan Montgomery Sign?

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Despite an anonymous competition informing Heyman that the Cubs “can” afford Montgomery, the expected cost of signing him appears to be the reason he’s still on the free agency market long into Spring Training.

“For the Cubs, the only way a deal would likely make sense for Montgomery would be if it were a short-term deal, perhaps similar to the one they gave Marcus Stroman when he inked a three-year pact with the club prior to the 2022 season,” Neveau said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. “A longer-term deal would likely be seen not only as a block on pitchers like Cade Horton and Ben Brown, but would also take the Cubs out of the mix if they decided to jump back into the free agent market next year for a pitcher like Shane Bieber or Max Fried.”

There have been various reports about Montgomery’s readiness to take less than the predicted $110 million market value. Jim Bowden of The Athletic said that “it doesn’t sound like” he’d accept a “pillow contract” like Bellinger’s.

However, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale suggested that Montgomery and other star free agent Blake Snell would be willing to make such a deal.

“They are now willing to exchange long-term deals for flexible, short-term contracts, if necessary, just as Bellinger and (Matt) Chapman did,” Nightengale said.

If Montgomery is receptive to short-term offers, the Cubs will face stiff competition to sign him.

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