Three days before the season began on March 26, 2019, Jordan Montgomery was placed on the 60-day IL so he could recover from the Tommy John surgery he had in 2018. He would not begin a rehab assignment until August 25 with High-A Tampa. He slowly worked his way through his rehab and was activated on September 4, but was only able to manage four innings before being sent back down for the postseason.
Back in 2017, Montgomery looked to be a promising young pitcher. He started 29 games and pitched to a 3.88 earned run average over 155.1 innings. Montgomery never stole the show, he just quietly worked his way through lineups in a fairly average and composed manner reminding fans of Andy Pettitte.
In the 2018 season, Montgomery was only able to make six starts before getting placed on the IL on May 2 with a left elbow strain. This elbow strain would go on to end his season as he eventually needed Tommy John surgery. He has pitched just four innings since then, and there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding his future with the Yankees. Is there even room for him in the rotation?
Let’s start with the basics. At this point, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and Luis Severino are confirmed to be in the starting rotation in 2020. Now the question becomes who will take those last two spots? In 2019, the Yankees went with an opener almost every week. So fans saw plenty of starters and relievers occupying different roles all year. However, the two other main starters ended up being Domingo German and CC Sabathia.
Sabathia retired, and it’s unclear what will happen with German. This certainly opens up the door for Montgomery, yet there’s more to it than that. While most fans will blame the offense for their ALCS exit in 2019, it’s still a known fact that the Yankees need to improve their starting pitching.
The Yankees have made it abundantly clear that they will target starting pitching this offseason. If they do acquire another big-time starting pitcher, that would lower Montgomery’s chances of having a big workload. However, Montgomery could easily be used in long relief during bullpen games or, just in general, to give the relievers a day off.
No matter how you look at it, if Montgomery stays healthy, he will certainly pitch in many more games than we have seen in recent years. If he ends up playing a bigger role than expected, this upcoming season will be his chance to make it count.