Cubs Free Agency

Jordan Montgomery finds new home, but how does it impact the Cubs?

Jordan Montgomery
Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 23, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Texas Rangers pitcher Jordan Montgomery (52) throws during the fifth inning of game seven in the ALCS against the Houston Astros for the 2023 MLB playoffs at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Free agent pitcher Jordan Montgomery has reportedly found his new home, inking a deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the deal will cover the 2024 season, paying Montgomery $25 million. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that the contract also comes with vesting options, which could escalate the value of the deal to $25 million in 2025.

Montgomery went 10-11 with a 3.20 ERA in 32 starts last season, starting the season with the St. Louis Cardinals before being traded to the Texas Rangers and helping that squad to their first World Series title in franchise history.

Now, Montgomery will switch sides in that World Series matchup, heading back to a Diamondbacks team that is trying to keep up in the rough-and-tumble National League West that features the big-spending Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.

Even though Montgomery will be heading to the desert, the move still could have some impact on the Cubs. According to Fangraphs, the Cubs were projected to have one fewer win than the Diamondbacks heading into the day Tuesday, and that number will likely change.

In addition to strengthening a wild card rival (one that beat the Cubs in six out of seven games down the stretch last season to help dash Chicago’s playoff hopes), the move also represents somewhat of a missed opportunity for the Cubs, who will be without Jameson Taillon at the start of the season and who will be relying on Jordan Wicks and Javier Assad to make a significant number of starts.

That being said, the move would have pushed the Cubs over the MLB luxury tax threshold, with their estimated tax hit currently sitting at $231 million. If the Cubs exceed that mark by more than $20 million, they would not only have to pay a 20% penalty on all money they exceed the tax by, but an additional 12% surcharge, according to MLB rules.

What's more, teams are punished for exceeding the tax in successive seasons, with the tax clocking in at 30% for a second consecutive overage.

That likely tipped the scales against signing Montgomery, even to a short-term deal, with the second year potentially impacting the Cubs' ability to spend in the 2024-25 offseason.

What’s more, the Cubs will likely see either Ben Brown or Cade Horton make their way up to the rotation this season, and both highly-touted prospects could end up becoming integral parts of the team’s pitching staff in coming seasons.

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