red sox should just do the obvious thing and sign jordan montgomery

Red Sox should just do the obvious thing and sign Jordan Montgomery

Red Sox should just do the obvious thing and sign Jordan Montgomery originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

There’s still time for the Red Sox to salvage their offseason. The solution is literally sitting in Boston.

Free agent left-hander Jordan Montgomery has spent the winter here while his wife conducts her residency at a Boston hospital. He is everything the Red Sox claimed to need when the offseason began – a proven starter who would immediately slot atop the rotation and give the team a fighting chance in baseball’s toughest division.

Instead of grabbing this obvious lifeline, the Red Sox dither with the likes of former Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer, signing him to what has been described as a “creative” contract, which is just another way of saying they’re paying him to sit around for a year while he heals from surgery. It’s the ultimate Chaim Bloom move (see James Paxton, Adalberto Mondesi) for a team that had supposedly had enough of Chaim Bloom.

The Red Sox are thinking so small, they might as well inhabit the quantum realm of many an uninspiring Marvel movie. But they can change the narrative with one stroke of John Henry’s pen.

It’s not too late to admit they’ve screwed up this winter, stubbornly highlighting their future prospects over any semblance of an attempt to compete in 2024. Because it is mathematically impossible to reach the playoffs from last place, the first order of business must be giving yourself a chance in the division.

It won’t be easy. The 100-win Orioles just acquired former Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes from the Brewers. The Yankees added generational slugger Juan Soto. The Blue Jays struck out on their biggest targets, but old friend Justin Turner is a sneaky great addition to their clubhouse, and they return the division’s best rotation. As for the Rays, let’s just assume they’ll continue conjuring 100 mph relievers and win another 90 games through witchcraft and devilry.

That leaves the Red Sox looking up at everyone else, and even if Montgomery doesn’t single-handedly overcome that gap, he at least narrows it. For the Red Sox to intimate they’re not one player away from reaching the World Series and therefore there’s no point in trying is so defeatist, it’s infuriating.

Lest anyone forget, they hit the All-Star break just a game out of the playoffs last year, badly needing reinforcements. Whereas an unusual spate of off days allowed manager Alex Cora to finesse his incomplete rotation through July, once the schedule turned unforgiving, the Red Sox wilted.

They know this, and yet they’ve subtracted from last year’s rotation, replacing Paxton and Chris Sale with Lucas Giolito. They’re a team begging for another arm, and it just so happens two really good ones remain available in Montgomery and reigning NL Cy Young winner Blake Snell.

Rather than exploiting their good fortune, the Red Sox seem content to drift into spring training with no buzz and no real hope of contending, even though JORDAN MONTGOMERY IS JUST SITTING THERE.

We’ve made the case before, but we’ll say it again: Giving Montgomery six years and $150 million serves the dual purposes of providing some life in the present while adding a valuable piece for the future.

Rangers pitcher Jordan Montgomery
Jordan Montgomery played a key role in the Rangers‘ World Series run, posting a 2.90 ERA over 31 innings pitched.

Montgomery can be a part of the next great Red Sox team, exuding some Jon Lester vibes as a 6-foot-6 lefty with the potential to remain effective into his 30s. The Cubs, after all, inked Lester after a 73-win season in 2014, and two years later he helped lead them to a World Series. Theo Epstein, who recently rejoined the Red Sox in an ownership role, didn’t look at Lester and say, “The timing isn’t right. Our young guys need to be closer.” He found someone to help show them the way.

Montgomery may not be in Lester’s class overall – he only won 10 games for the first time last year – but he has averaged over 30 starts a year with a 3.48 ERA since 2021, and he just won a World Series with the Rangers, who might not have gotten there without his spectacular work (2-0, 1.29) in the ALCS vs. the Astros.

That’s a pitcher worth paying, even if doing so serves as a tacit admission that your winter has been a dud. The fact that Montgomery remains an option is itself a blessing, if only the Red Sox will bow their heads and accept it.


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