Sources – Diamondbacks, Jordan Montgomery agree to terms on 1-year deal
Sources – Diamondbacks, Jordan Montgomery agree to terms on 1-year deal

Left-hander Jordan Montgomery and the Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to terms on a one-year, $25 million contract that includes a player acquisition option for a second season, sources told ESPN Tuesday night, bolstering the National League champions’ rotation with a postseason standout from the team , who beat them in the World Series.

The pending deal ends Montgomery’s free agency two days before Opening Day and could include a second-year player option worth $20 million if Montgomery makes 10 starts. The option will be for $22.5 million if Montgomery reaches 18 starts and $25 million in 23 starts, sources said.

After entering the winter hoping for a nine-figure deal, the 31-year-old Montgomery signed for a fraction of that, a blow to a Diamondbacks team whose big offseason acquisition, Eduardo Rodriguez, landed on the injured list this week with a lat strain. Montgomery will join a rotation that includes top starters Zach Gallen and Merrill Kelly along with 25-year-old Brandon Pfaad.

Montgomery’s market proved solid after a stellar season in which he posted a career-best 3.20 ERA in 188⅔ innings, the last 67⅔ of which came with the Texas Rangers after a terminal trade from St. Louis. He continued his excellent performance in the postseason, throwing seven shutouts in the wild card round against Tampa Bay and followed that up with 14 brilliant innings in the American League Championship Series.

Instead, Montgomery’s condition mirrors that of three other high-profile clients of his agent, Scott Boras. Outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger, who wanted more than $150 million, signed with the Chicago Cubs for $80 million over three years. National League Cy Young winner Blake Snell received a two-year, $62 million deal from San Francisco after targeting more than $150 million. He joined third baseman Matt Chapman, who wanted nine figures but got three years and $54 million in San Francisco.

Like the three who received waivers after the first year of their deals, Montgomery will control whether he can reach free agency in a busy 2024-25 class. The disappointment of the guarantee is bolstered by joining a Diamondbacks team that heads into 2024 in much better shape than last year as it prepares to face the vastly improved Los Angeles Dodgers and Giants, plus the San Diego Padres.

Montgomery is the latest acquisition in a busy winter for Arizona, whose salary will rise to a franchise-record $168 million. In addition to Montgomery and Rodriguez, the Diamondbacks re-signed left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and outfielders Joc Pederson and Randall Grichuk. They also traded for third baseman Eugenio Suarez.

The best player of them all is Montgomery, who is joining his fourth team after the New York Yankees — with whom he spent the first six seasons of his career — traded him to St. Louis at the 2022 deadline. Reliable inning eater , who has surpassed 30 starts in three straight seasons, Montgomery has a career record of 38-34 with a 3.68 ERA and 705 strikeouts in 755 innings since New York selected him out of the University of South Carolina in the fourth round of the 2014 draft .

With a sinking fastball and a hard curve called the Death Ball, Montgomery carved up the Houston Astros in the ALCS before allowing four runs in six innings in a Game 2 loss to the Diamondbacks. It was the only game the Rangers dropped en route to their first World Series victory, and there was mutual interest in a comeback.

But Texas’ uncertainty over local television rights has tightened the Rangers’ purse strings, forcing Montgomery to explore other options. Discussions with the Boston Red Sox never got past the early stages, nor did talks with the Yankees. The Giants were suitors at one point, but backed out after Snell was signed. It wasn’t until recently that the Diamondbacks came up as a possible landing spot.

It’s the perfect landing spot for Montgomery, whose data-driven approach aligns with that of Diamondbacks pitching coach Brent Strome and pitching strategist Dan Haren. And if he can help Arizona in October the same way he did the Rangers last season, the Diamondbacks could once again surprise the NL, where the Dodgers and Atlanta Braves are favorites to win the pennant.

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