Montgomery to Replace Paxton, for Now

The Mariners are getting quite desperate. After losing Hisashi Iwakuma and James Paxton to injury, they’ve now turned to Mike Montgomery to hopefully not suck. After not fully addressing pitching depth problems in the offseason or during the last trade deadline, it has finally bit Jack Zduriencik in his big rump.

Mike Montgomery is an intriguing guy. Actually, I don’t know that to be true. But he is an interesting prospect. In 2008, he was drafted by the Kansas City Royals 36th overall and was immediately ranked the Royals’ #4 prospect. After posting solid numbers in his age-19 rookie season, Montgomery was elevated to the Royals’ #1 prospect in 2009, and the #39 prospect in the MLB, per Baseball America. Shortly thereafter, Montgomery proceeded to stink it up after he made the jump to AAA. He was considered one of the top young lefties in the game years ago, but command issues proved to be problematic and he was dealt to the Rays. That trade saw the Rays deal James Shields and Wade Davis in exchange for Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery, and Patrick Leonard.

Just two years (and some change) later, the Rays presumably became tired of Montgomery’s continued control issues, so here we are. After injuring his shoulder and forearm a couple years ago, Montgomery has seen his velocity on his fastball dip from a 90-95 range, to a consistent 89-90, sometimes touching 91. While Montgomery’s fastball might not ever be the same, he could turn into a solid back of the rotation starter. Less optimistically, he could become a spot starter or long man out of the bullpen. Standing at 6’5”, 180 with a plus change, you could do much worse than our swapping him for the likes of Erasmo Ramirez. (Man, there was a time in my life when I thought Erasmo was gonna be really, really good. Ugh, baseball… Remember that time Cano called him Baby Felix?)

Mike Montgomery will pitch fine, if you ask me. He’s not going to blow anyone away, but I think he’ll be fine to pitch a couple games until we get things figured out. Zduriencik is supposedly calling around in search of a trade partner, so we’ll see what happens with that. This wasn’t the ideal time to call up Montgomery to me, but the Mariners don’t have many options, at all. Danny Farquhar is in the process of being stretched out to possibly start (ugh), and with the state of the bullpen Tom Wilhelmsen isn’t an option. Maybe Paxton can teach Montgomery a thing or two.

This year (small sample size alert), Montgomery has posted better numbers than he has in years. While his ERA (3.74) isn’t great, his FIP (3.29) is encouraging, and he’s keeping the walks down and fly balls are staying in the park.

And Taijuan, please, PLEASE get things turned around. We cannot do this without you.

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