There’s been some pretty healthy debate regarding the potential names in a Manny Machado deal, and for good reason. Between offensive and defensive value, team control, fit with the roster, and organizational depth, such a splashy move has to be reviewed from multiple angles.
Addison Russell has remained at the center of speculation, primarily because he and Machado play the same position and Russell would be rendered superfluous should the Cubs make the deal. Other accommodations could be made, sure, but Occam’s razor tells us Russell’s inclusion in a deal makes the most sense.
The rumors dating back to last December have included other names as well, with Mike Montgomery’s being the most prominent from among the Cubs’ 25-man roster. Adbert Alzolay, who was almost called up recently to spell the rotation in that Cincy double-header, is an additional possibility. The Orioles need pitching, so it makes sense that they might ask for something like this.
Or, more accurately, it made sense for them to ask for it back in December, when the whole season was still months away and the Cubs would’ve gotten Machado several months. As I’ve mentioned a few times before, there’s also the matter of a compensatory pick. While you don’t trade viable contributors for single draft picks, getting an extra selection should Machado bolt for free agency would at least soften the blow.
But since the superstar shortstop won’t spend a full season with his new club, they miss out on that comp pick. I’m flogging Mr. Ed at this point, so I’ll keep moving here. All most of us can do is yell at each other on Twitter, so it’s good to turn on occasion to those with more knowledge and better connections.
The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma is one such person and he joined 670 The Score’s McNeil and Parkins Show from Gallagher Way Wednesday (audio below) to talk about the Machado buzz, among other things.
“[Baltimore] should have traded him in the offseason,” Sharma said. “They don’t have the leverage they did in the winter and they should have moved him in the winter and now they’re going to ask for an arm and a leg. They’re not going to get it and this is probably going to push much further than anyone wants it to. Definitely the acquiring team, it’s going to push further down the road than they want it to.
“And they’re probably not going to get as crazy of a haul as everyone may speculate that they should get. I threw some names across to front office members — not with the Cubs, outside of the Cubs — and…I think I suggested Addison Russell, Mike Montgomery, and Adbert Alzolay. And I said, ‘Is that an overpay?’ And they laughed at me and said that’s a massive overpay, you do not do that if you’re the Cubs.
“They said that’s what Baltimore wants, a massive overpay, they’re going to ask for it. They’re not going to get it, according to the people that I’ve talked to.”
Hell yeah that’s a massive overpay. I didn’t like it back in December, so it’s only gotten worse at this point. Alzolay’s further emergence doesn’t make him untouchable, though it certainly means that he can’t just be the sweetener in a deal like this. Speaking of, there was another rumor during the winter that the Orioles had asked for Russell, Montgomery and Albert Almora Jr., which, also no.
Rather than belabor this any more than I already have, I want to touch on something that I’ve hitherto been really reluctant to explore. And that is Montgomery’s actual value to the Cubs, which seems to be eroding by the appearance.
The lefty swingman will be arbitration-eligible after this season and still has three years of team control left after 2018, so he figures to remain at a very reasonable salary through 2021. He’s only making $611,000 this season and, without racking up starter’s numbers, he has very little foothold when he comes to significant raises through the arb process. That’s the “good” part.
The bad part is that Montgomery’s amorphous role may be hampering his overall performance. It was made clear through his camp this winter that he wanted to start, to the extent that he was reportedly willing to seek a trade in order to ensure a spot in someone’s rotation. That little squall blew over quickly and Monty was dubbed the Cubs’ sixth starter in camp, but none of his 18 appearances to date this year have come as a starter.
He hasn’t been as effective as a reliever, either, posting a 5.33 ERA and 4.25 FIP with a career-low 5.33 K/9 average. And even though some of those numbers are marred by Monty having to wear one after Tyler Chatwood was pulled early from Tuesday’s turdsicle against the Indians, the ginger southpaw just hasn’t looked as sharp as in the past.
Sorry, I’ve now taken us further afield than my initial plan called for. The point here is that Montgomery may not possess nearly as much immediate value to the Cubs and could be more expendable in a trade than was the case in December. That said, his value — which is bigger than just his performance or his current role — is still very high because he’s a controllable starter option. A lefty starter option, at that.
I’m not sure there’s any meat here, but I think I’ve at least provided some gristle for us to chew on for a while. Let me see about rustling up a hardtack biscuit or two while I’m at it, we’ve still got a long journey ahead of us before this thing reaches a conclusion.