Red Sox not signing Jordan Montgomery is somehow making fans eat their words

Arizona Diamondbacks v St. Louis Cardinals
Arizona Diamondbacks v St. Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages

As is well known by now, the Boston Red Sox did not have the "full throttle" offseason the front office promised in November 2023.

The Red Sox whiffed on many top-tier free-agent candidates and made few significant trades. Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Jorge Soler, Shōta Imanaga and Teoscar Hernández were among Boston's worst misses. But many experts and fans expected the Sox's big prize to be Jordan Montgomery.

Against all odds, they haven't needed him. And his current numbers with the Arizona Diamondbacks would have made Boston's starting rotation worse at the moment, which feels incredibly hard to believe.

Montgomery has pitched to a 4.70 ERA and 4.74 FIP in 23 innings with Arizona. He's fanned 10 batters, walked six and allowed three home runs.

The left-hander also ranks relatively low in a few key categories that would have created some problems for the Red Sox's rough defense. Montgomery doesn't strike out many batters and he walks a high number comparatively. Baseball Savant ranks Montgomery in the second percentile in strikeout percentage and the 49th percentile in ground ball percentage.

Montgomery also ranks in the 58th percentile for average exit velocity. Infield grounders have created problems for the Red Sox's defense in the past, and their error-riddled spell in early April likely would have been even worse had Montgomery pitched any of those games.

The Red Sox's starting rotation would have been worse if they signed Jordan Montgomery

Montgomery hasn't pitched as many innings as Kutter Crawford or Tanner Houck, the only two Red Sox starting pitchers who have been healthy all season. The 31-year-old still has plenty of season left to level out his numbers and make his long stint in free agency worth it, but the early returns would've had Boston fans in a bad way.

Boston's starters have a combined 2.75 ERA and Montgomery's early numbers would've raised that total significantly. There's no telling how a couple of sessions with pitching coach Andrew Bailey may have altered his numbers had Montgomery signed with Boston instead of Arizona, but that was a risk the front office didn't want to take. Or maybe they didn't want to pay his exorbitant asking price.

Montgomery admitted he didn't want to sign with Boston because he hoped to play for a winning club. He ended up with the Diamondbacks, a team with a losing record, and a higher ERA than any starter on the Red Sox. Didn't see that coming.

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