Just Now: Atlanta Braves are on a move to sign a 5-year deal with a baseball Legend for $22 million a year…

Jordan Montgomery is the Most Logical Fit for Atlanta Braves.

Jordan Montgomery is the Most Logical Fit for Atlanta Braves - Sports  Illustrated Atlanta Braves News, Analysis and More

As the starting pitching market thins out, Jordan Montgomery looks like the most logical fit left for the Atlanta Braves.

As the starting pitching market thins out, Jordan Montgomery looks like the most logical fit left for the Atlanta Braves.

With Alex Anthopoulos prioritizing durability in any long-term deal for a starting pitcher, Montgomery feels like the safest option of the frontline starters who remain available.

You could make a case for Yoshinobu Yamamoto because of his age, but Japanese pitchers are handled differently and we’ve yet to see him handle a full workload in Major League Baseball.

Yamamoto has likely priced himself out of the Braves range, and he’s met with the Giants, Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Dodgers recently.

Shohei Ohtani is gone to the Dodgers and Tyler Glasnow might be joining him soon.

Blake Snell has only thrown more than 130 innings in a season twice, and Shane Bieber comes with some injury concerns.

Corbin Burnes and Dylan Cease make sense from a durability standpoint, but both are Scott Boras clients and AA would prefer to do an extension with one of them for the prospects he’d have to give up.

That leaves Jordan Montgomery.

The soon-to-be 31-year-old lefty would only cost the Braves money, as he wasn’t eligible to receive a qualifying offer after being traded in-season.

He’s somewhat sneakily been between a 3-4 win player the last three seasons, since fully recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2018 that cost him almost all of 2019 leading up to the shortened 2020 season. Over the past three years, he’s made at least 30 starts in each of them and averaged 176.1 innings.

Something to keep in mind with Montgomery, he threw 31 additional innings in the postseason for a total of 219.2 innings in 2023. And he’s been really good in the postseason, with a 2.63 ERA in 37.2 innings with just 2 walks to 24 strikeouts.

He went at least 5 innings in 28 of 32 starts this past season not only showing his durability but consistency.

Sticking with the last three years as our sample size, he’s posted an ERA between 3.20 and 3.83 with a WHIP between 1.09 and 1.28. His expected stats put him as more of a 4 ERA type of pitcher.

He’s not an overpowering pitcher, but he has great command with a walk rate under 7 percent for his career and knows how to attack hitters. It’s a profile that’s very familiar with a current lefty in the Braves rotation that could be leaving after 2024:

Jordan Montgomery is essentially Max Fried-light.

Both rely on command and deception, featuring a fastball, change-up, curveball, and sinker as their top four pitches.

Fried does a much better job of missing barrels, however, and thus his xBA is significantly lower than Montgomery’s.

But watching the two pitch, you can see some of the similarities even though Montgomery is a much more imposing figure on the mound at 6-foot-6, 228 pounds.

What’s the Cost?

The problem with paying Montgomery right now is that he’s coming off a career year, followed up with a strong postseason, and he’s likely to get top of the rotation money. MLB Trade Rumors projects him to get a similar deal to Aaron Nola — making around $25 million a year.

Perhaps that’s the market price for a mid-rotation pitcher in today’s game, but that seems rather expensive.

While the durability Montgomery figures to have makes him a good fit long-term, he’s not going to replace Fried at the top of the rotation.

Most likely, Montgomery becomes a very solid and durable middle of the rotation arm going forward.

If the Braves could convince him to sign a 5-year deal for $22 million a year — that seems like a fair price. But when dealing in free agency, you’ll have to overpay.

Is Montgomery the guy you want to overpay on to be that horse in the rotation behind Spencer Strider going forward?

That’s the decision AA and the front office have to be contemplating right now.

Montgomery checks a lot of boxes for what you want in a pitcher long-term (a safe floor) and makes a lot of sense for the Braves.

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