The Chicago Cubs are always looking for improvements to their squad, so 12 days before the trade deadline, they made the previously rumored trade official:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 20, 2016
There are people far smarter than I who can talk about the repertoire and performance of Mike Montgomery, but I believe that this is a strong trade for several reasons.
- Dan Vogelbach was blocked just about everywhere, so he was the logical man to move.
- Mike Montgomery may have some residual starter potential, but since everyone’s been clamoring for a strong left-handed relief option, this makes sense, right?
- Montgomery has something like five years of club control left, which made him a cheaper but potentially more valuable target than Andrew Miller by salary and by trade currency.
- The starter, Jordan Pries, is probably more MLB-ready right now than Paul Blackburn, even if Blackburn may ultimately have more upside.
The thing now is, who is Montgomery going to replace on the active roster? Vogelbach was on the 40-man, so that doesn’t matter, but the 25-man active roster is full. Dexter Fowler is supposed to be back soon, and Jorge Soler might not be too far behind. So it likely will not be a position player going down just yet. We’re probably looking at a reliever on the bubble who has options, like Spencer Patton, being sent to Iowa. More drastically, the Cubs could elect to designate Clayton Richard for assignment, although he did look good in his return from the disabled list. The Cubs have a couple days to decide, with Thursday’s off day, before activating Montgomery officially for Friday night’s game.