Bader heads to Yanks from Cards for Monty

August 3rd, 2022

NEW YORK -- In a surprising move that landed just ahead of Tuesday’s Trade Deadline, the Yankees acquired outfielder Harrison Bader with a player to be named or cash considerations from the Cardinals in exchange for left-hander Jordan Montgomery.

Bader, a Gold Glove-winning center fielder who grew up near Yankee Stadium, is currently on the injured list with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that he felt the move was worth making, even though Bader is not expected to play until at least September. 

“Harrison Bader is one of the elite center-field defenders in the game,” Cashman said. “He provides a lot of lanes for us and our manager when he’s healthy. Certainly, we did a deep dive into his medicals, and there’s a lot of optimism and belief that sometime in September we’ll be able to unpack that present and deploy him.”

Yankees get: OF Harrison Bader
Cardinals get: LHP Jordan Montgomery

A product of Bronxville, N.Y., who graduated from Horace Mann School in the Bronx, the 28-year-old Bader was batting .256/.303/.370 with five homers, 21 RBIs and 15 stolen bases this season. He has not played since June 26. 

Bader earned down-ballot Rookie of the Year votes in 2018, when he posted a .756 OPS, and is under contract through 2023. 

“He’s a 60-to-70 defender, 60-to-70 runner that can impact our team in many ways, whether it’s coming off the bench to steal a bag or as a starting option in the outfield,” Cashman said.

The Yankees have spoken about their plan to move Aaron Judge out of center field in the second half, hoping to keep his legs fresher for the postseason drive. Judge has started 52 games in center field this season, the most on the Yanks’ roster, ahead of Aaron Hicks (49) and others.

“It’s hard to get your hands on someone of that caliber,” Cashman said, “and unfortunately it cost us one of our homegrown players in Jordan Montgomery that we’ve relied a lot on. I’m sorry to see Montgomery go; he’s a really good pitcher and a really good person.”

Cashman said that right-hander Frankie Montas, acquired from the Athletics on Monday, will take Montgomery’s rotation slot. That gives New York a starting five of Gerrit Cole, Montas, Jameson Taillon, Nestor Cortes and Domingo Germán, with Luis Severino set to return in mid-September.

The 29-year-old Montgomery was 3-3 with a 3.69 ERA in 21 starts this season, striking out 7.6 batters per nine innings.

“This is my family,” Montgomery said. “This is all I know. I’ve been playing with the same guys for years. I’m going to miss [Aaron] Judge, going to miss Jamo. It’s tough.”

A six-year veteran who was originally selected by the Yankees in the fourth round of the 2014 MLB Draft from the University of South Carolina, Montgomery is 22-20 with a 3.94 ERA in 98 career games (97 starts).

Montgomery last pitched on Sunday against the Royals, allowing four runs in four-plus innings and taking a no-decision. His next start, coincidentally, could come against the Yankees -- New York visits St. Louis for a three-game series that opens on Friday. 

“It’s going to be weird,” Montgomery said. “Whatever they need me to do over there, I’ll do it. It’s just weird timing.”