Chicago Cubs: Mike Montgomery wants his chance to start
Over the course of the last two years, the Chicago Cubs’ Mike Montgomery has been the swingman for them. He’s done it all, but he’s ready to put roots down and become a starter.
Yesterday, news came out the Chicago Cubs‘ Mike Montgomery wanted to start, if not in Chicago then somewhere else. The news came as a surprise to the Cubs and Jed Hoyer. Montgomery claims that everyone he speaks to in the organization is aware of that. That might be true, but the info wasn’t communicated to the Cubs’ front office.
Coming into his pre-arbitration year, this is a smart play by Montgomery. The best way to build value is as a starter as compared to being a reliever. And the Cubs are aware that Monty has the ability to get it done as a starter. The only question is if he’ll have a spot to compete for. The Cubs have, we assume, one spot left in the rotation. And the team continues to be on the lookout for another starter.
Capable, but no room?
"“We view him as a starting pitcher; we know he can do it,” Hoyer said. “But that said, our job is to build up as much depth as possible.”"
In the case of the Cubs, they need that depth. The Cubs were sixth overall in bullpen ERA. But they were also 28th in BB/9. It’s amazing the bullpen wasn’t much worse by the numbers. But in the playoffs after getting to the NLCS for the third-straight year, the wheels fell off.
Montgomery has made it very clear, he’s not unhappy with his current situation. He’s not trying to force the Cubs hand to trade him. But he wants a chance to start.
All he wants is a chance
"“I love Chicago. It’s been unbelievable the last two years,” he said. “I want to stay there, the rest of my career if possible. It’s not a matter of being unhappy. It’s just a matter of [the fact] I want to be a starter, and proven I can do it, and want the opportunity.”"
Going into 2017, I thought that Montgomery deserved the chance to start. But the Cubs went and picked up Brett Anderson and gave him the fifth spot. That, my friends, was a terrible move. Monty slowly worked his way into the rotation. He started 14 games but was given a quick hook by Joe Maddon (think Kyle Hendricks last season). He may be able to handle it, but Maddon doesn’t seem to trust him to go deep into games.
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While Montgomery is still slated for the projected starting rotation, that could all change with what the Cubs do before Spring Training. And the Cubs haven’t counted out the possibility of a six-man rotation. Monty may have to suck it up and be the swingman once again this season before he gets his chance. And even next year, he may have to compete with Drew Smyly as well.