I think this tweet should put us on at least yellow alert:
#Cubs LHP Mike Montgomery would like chance to start or go to place where he can, sources close to the pitcher tell The Athletic. Has communicated desire to start to #Cubs, but not desire to go elsewhere if opportunity is not available, sources say. Role in ‘18 presently unclear.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 13, 2017
Now it sounds like Mike Montgomery, who came to the Cubs in 2016 just in time to pitch some strong innings and get the final out in the World Series, doesn’t want to force his way out of Chicago, but is very keen on being a full starter. Monty is at least an adequate backup plan in case the Cubs lose out on some free agents like Alex Cobb, or don’t end up trading for another starter.
I know many, including seemingly the Cubs front office, think of Monty as a swing man or long reliever rather than a prototypical starter. There’s value in that versatility. But this new information suggests that Monty isn’t satisfied in the role, and why should he be? However, the team’s interests must come before the individual, and for now at least, Monty is fine staying in his role if there are no alternatives.
We do know that many teams are still searching for pitching. Montgomery isn’t eligible for arbitration until 2019, and is controlled through the 2021 season, so he will be inexpensive and valuable as a trade piece. Watch for trade talk going forward…
UPDATE 9:15 PM: I guess it might not turn out to be a big deal after all…
#Cubs Hoyer says this "caught me by surprise, to be honest. We view him as a starting pitcher. I know he views himself as a starting pitcher but he's a good teammate and has been willing to do both and I think he's done that very well" https://t.co/9EeiLCRwbG
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) December 13, 2017
Monty is valuable to the Cubs in both his existing role or as a trade chip, so the GM has to talk him up a bit. However, the body of work speaks for itself.