Chicago Cubs: Does Mike Montgomery get the starting nod in 2017?
Mike Montgomery figures to have a spotlight on him come this spring. That is when the Chicago Cubs might try to “stretch” him out to become a starter in the pitching rotation. Or, he could remain a reliever and let the new acquisitions vie for the fifth starter spot.
Either way, it is etched in Chicago Cubs history that he was the pitcher on the mound in the last of the 10th inning with just one out to obtain. He induced Cleveland pinch-hitter Michael Martinez to hit a slow grounder to Kris Bryant who fielded the ball and threw it to Anthony Rizzo at first-base to get that elusive last out that gave the Cubs their first World Series title after 108 years.
It was the first save by Montgomery all season. The 6’5″, 215 lbs. lefty came to the Cubs from Seattle in July 2016 and he was used mostly in the bullpen. His first few appearances were a bit rocky. He allowed some hits and a few home runs. But as he was coached, he settled in and came in and got outs. He had a 2.82 ERA with a 1-1 record and gave up 30 hits in 38 1/3 innings. He also allowed five home runs in the season.
Montgomery has a deceptive fastball and a curveball that kept batters on their heels.
He was originally signed by the Kansas City Royals and then landed in the Mariners organization. In Seattle, he got off to a great start by throwing complete game shutouts in this first two games in 2015. That hadn’t happened since pitcher Freddy Garcia did it in 2001.
The Cubs got him mid-summer in 2016 and he was heavily scouted and they liked his upside. He is 27 and the Cubs think he is only going to get better.
I don’t think there is a rush to get him in the rotation. But his name has come up for consideration among others. Montgomery did not pitch a lot of innings for the Cubs and it may be that they want to get him a heavier workload and increase the high-leverage situations as the season progresses.
Next: Cubs sign Perez to minor-league deal
The upcoming Spring training will be an important time for him. I am sure Chris Bosio and staff will be working with him to see how he best fits in with the Cubs.