Montgomery is perfect fit for a Red Sox team that needs to make a big move

February 25th, 2024

The Red Sox need another starting pitcher and one of the free-agent starters still available, , needs a new team after helping pitch the Rangers to their first World Series title last season. Montgomery would make the Red Sox better as soon as showing up in Fort Myers. He would also do a lot toward changing the narrative about the ’24 Sox after finishing last in the AL East the past two seasons.

Montgomery isn’t just a good fit for the Red Sox, he is a good fit for a lot of teams who need starting pitching -- the Giants and the Cubs and some others. He just happens to be a perfect fit for the Red Sox. He and his wife have been living in Boston all winter. Montgomery has reportedly been working out at my alma mater, Boston College. His wife is a doctor, a dermatologist by trade, who has been doing a residency at a Boston hospital.

This doesn’t mean that Montgomery is going to give the Red Sox a hometown discount. And the fact that he is still unsigned with Spring Training games underway suggests that his agent, Scott Boras, and his various suitors have not been close to finding common ground on a contract.

But there is some urgency for both sides. The Red Sox need a high-profile signing. They can certainly use a pitcher who showed he could do the job with the Yankees and when the lights were turned up to their absolute brightest last fall. And the Red Sox have certainly been looking for a frontline left-handed starter since the small window when Chris Sale was healthy and still dominant and helping pitch the Red Sox to a World Series title in 2018.

A lot has happened to the Sox since then, and that title feels like a lifetime ago. Dave Dombrowski, the architect of that championship team in ’18, was fired, replaced by Chaim Bloom, who also ended up getting fired, replaced now by Craig Breslow, who pitched on another Red Sox championship team in 2013. As recently as 2021, the Red Sox seemed on their way back to the World Series when they were ahead of the Astros two games to one in the American League Championship Series. Then they stopped hitting, and landed hard. They haven’t gotten up since, finishing in last place two years running.

Their fans have watched the Yankees make one of the biggest moves of the offseason by making their trade with the Padres for Juan Soto. The Orioles, who won the East and finished 23 games ahead of the Sox last season, have added a starter they very much need in Corbin Burnes, which means they’ve added Burnes to a roster loaded with young talent. The Rays never go away, nor does a talented Blue Jays team.

Suddenly Red Sox fans are talking about 2018 the way they once talked about 1918, until the Sox started winning the Series again, four since 2004.

Here is what team president Sam Kennedy said in Fort Myers the other day, addressing the frustration of Red Sox fans at the start of Spring Training:

"We have set parameters for [Breslow] and he's operating under those parameters. I do not want to talk about specifics related to payroll and parameters because it does nothing to help us competitively.

Kennedy added this:

“Look, I think the focus on spending is fair and reasonable given where we finished the last couple of years. We understand there's frustration. The best way to turn that frustration around is to go out and win baseball games and have the focus be on our team and our players versus where we're spending.”

The East might be too loaded for Montgomery to be the kind of difference-maker he was for the Rangers last fall. But he would make a difference in one important way: He would give Red Sox Nation some hope that things might be better this season than they were last season. Hope is still the real coin of the realm in baseball in the spring, whether you finished in last place last year or not.