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Jordan Montgomery to sign with Diamondbacks: Reigning NL champions agree to one-year, $25M deal, per report

The Arizona Diamondbacks have added a major free agent to their rotation two days before Opening Day. The D-backs and left-hander Jordan Montgomery have agreed to a contract, reports ESPN. It’s a one-year deal worth $25 million, according to the Arizona Republic, and Montgomery gains a $20 million player option with 10 starts. The 2025 salary rises to $22.5 million with 18 starts and $25 million with 23 starts. The team has not yet announced the signing.

Montgomery, who will pitch the entire 2024 season at age 31, had to settle for a short-term contract like fellow Scott Boras clients Cody Bellinger, Matt Chapman, and Blake Snell. Earlier this offseason, it was reported Montgomery sought a contract in line with Aaron Nola’s seven-year, $175 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. Obviously he and Boras fell well short of that.

The signing comes not long after the D-backs lost Eduardo Rodriguez, their other prized free agent signing, to a lat strain. It’s unclear how long he will be sidelined. Montgomery figures to need some time to fully build up and get game ready, but once he returns, he’ll join Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly, Brandon Pfaadt, and eventually a healthy Rodriguez in a very formidable rotation.

A year ago Montgomery threw 188 2/3 innings with a 3.20 ERA overall, and was terrific after the St. Louis Cardinals sent him to the Texas Rangers at the trade deadline. With Texas, Montgomery had a 2.79 ERA in 11 starts and 67 2/3 regular season innings. He then added 31 innings with a 2.90 ERA in the postseason to help Texas beat the D-Backs in the World Series. 

Our R.J. Anderson ranked Montgomery the No. 10 free agent available this offseason. Here’s his write-up:

Montgomery is the starting pitcher version of cottage cheese. He’s not exciting. No one looks forward to watching him. You don’t want your team making big plans around him. But he’s reliable, and he can be part of something good if he’s put into the right situation. To be clear: none of this is meant to insult Montgomery. His high-grade control and durability have afforded him three consecutive good seasons. He’s just better served when he’s not cast as the main attraction. 

Because he did not spend the entire 2023 season with the Rangers, Texas could not make Montgomery the qualifying offer. They will not receive a compensation draft pick for losing him and the D-backs will not have to forfeit any draft picks or international bonus pool money to sign him.

Furthermore, Montgomery will be ineligible to receive the qualifying offer after the 2024 season if the contract is not executed before Opening Day. Free agents must spend the entire season — Opening Day through Game 162 — with their team to be eligible for the qualifying offer. For Boras and Montgomery, it would make sense to officially sign the deal Friday, after the season begins.

Arizona went 84-78 last season and qualified for the postseason as a wild-card team. They then made a run to the World Series before losing to Montgomery’s Rangers. The D-backs open the 2024 season at home against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday.

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