Cardinals left-hander Jordan Montgomery, a free agent after the season, is open to an extension that’d keep him in St. Louis but suggests to John Denton of MLB.com that he prefers not to negotiate once the regular season has commenced (Twitter thread). It’s a common stance for players to take during spring training, which is typically the most active time of the year on the extension market.
Montgomery, 30, joined the Cardinals last summer in a deadline swap that sent center fielder Harrison Bader to the Yankees. The left-hander was excellent following the trade, working to a sharp 3.11 ERA with an improved 23.9% strikeout rate, a 5.4% walk rate and a 49.7% grounder rate that tops any mark he posted during his time in the Bronx. Montgomery missed nearly the entire 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery but has since returned and reestablished himself as a quality big league hurler. He’s made 62 starts over the past two seasons, recording a 3.65 ERA and identical 3.65 FIP in 335 2/3 innings. The Cardinals seemingly have some extra motivation to keep Montgomery, as Adam Wainwright will retire after the season while Montgomery, Miles Mikolas and Jack Flaherty are all free agents. Steven Matz is the only established starter that St. Louis controls beyond 2023.
More on the Cards…
- The Cardinals have a two-man race to back up newly signed catcher Willson Contreras, with incumbent backup Andrew Knizner and non-roster invitee Tres Barrera jostling for the role. To this point, Knizner has received more playing time during official spring games, but he’s just 4-for-42 and has yet to connect on an extra-base hit. Barrera has just 18 plate appearances, and while he’s gone 2-for-12 in official spring contests, one of those hits was a home run and he’s also drawn six walks (making for an odd .167/.444/.500 slash line). The Cardinals haven’t made a decision yet, but manager Oli Marmol acknowledged to Denton this week that, “In this short period of time, Barrera has clearly outperformed Knizner — I can’t disagree with that.” The Cardinals will factor more than a handful of at-bats from each player into the equation, but Marmol voiced a general desire to be able to get more offense from the backup catcher position. The 28-year-old Barrera has just 162 MLB plate appearances and is a .231/.317/.315 hitter in that time. He’s a .251/.332/.388 hitter in the minors. Knizner has slashed a combined .204/.292/.288 in 553 MLB plate appearances across parts of four seasons with the Cards. Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat suggests that Knizner could be a candidate to be flipped elsewhere if another club in need of a backup reaches out to the Cardinals.
- Left-hander Anthony Misiewicz was optioned to Triple-A Memphis today, the team announced. Following that cut, the Cardinals have Genesis Cabrera, Zack Thompson, Packy Naughton, JoJo Romero and non-roster invitee Andrew Suarez as possible lefties in Marmol’s bullpen. Thompson and Suarez have been outstanding this spring, with neither allowing a run through 9 1/3 innings and eight innings, respectively. Suarez isn’t on the 40-man roster, however, which could work against him early in the season. Cabrera is the most experienced of the bunch in terms of MLB service time and is earning a $950K salary this season, but he does have a minor league option remaining — as do Thompson (two), Naughton (one) and Romero (one). Suarez would also have one minor league option year left, if selected to the roster.
- With Paul DeJong expected to begin the season on the injured list, it’s increasingly likely that veteran utilityman Taylor Motter will win a roster spot with the Cardinals, tweets Jones. As Jones writes at greater length, Motter’s solid spring, defensive versatility and remaining minor league option make him a candidate to win a spot on the Cardinals’ bench. The Cards have given Motter a hefty 55 plate appearances in Grapefruit League play thus far, and he’s responded with a .234/.345/.426 batting line, three homers, three steals and a 13-to-8 K/BB ratio. Top prospect Masyn Winn is still in camp and has turned plenty of heads, but he just turned 21 two days ago and has yet to play a game in Triple-A. The Cards surely want him to log everyday at-bats that probably wouldn’t be present at the big league level with a crowded infield mix.
Motter is a huge liability and I don’t like him as an option. His defense is average at best and word on the street is that he is a terrible teammate. Of course I can’t verify that, but I have read several stories on him not being liked by his teammates. Regardless, Kramer Robertson is the guy they should give the spot to – he has all of his options, plays great defense at 2b, 3b and ss, gets on base at nearly a .400 clip and puts everything on the line when he’s out there. Makes too much sense to give him the opportunity over Motter. Hopefully, the Cards understand this….
I like Robertson better too. He has played very well this spring, is younger and can play SS. Knizner has totally cratered. I defended him in the last article, but he has been brutal.
Where do you see that he’s a bad teammate?
You guys must be joking. No way Robertson makes this team. He’s not even a consideration. He was left unprotected last year and is only in camp for depth.
I understand that, but it’s not like Motter has really outplayed Robertson this spring or any other season. Neither of them offer much.
Plus he’s only batting .234. in spring training
That’s Big Time News.
Indeed I am.
Both SS and catcher should prioritize defense. There is plenty of offense in the regular lineup.
You can never have too much offense these days.
Herrera looked better than Knizner and Barrera in his liimited spring opportunites. I can only gues the team wants him playing everyday in Memphis. Knizner’s offense has gone from bad to worse.
Did something happen to Herrera? He had 8 ABs, 3 hits, 3 walks, I don’t understand why he hasn’t been given more of a look? To put this in perspective, Herrera had 3 hits in 8 at bats and Knizner has had 4… in 42 ABs… If management wants him in Memphis for full playing time then that’s fine, but why not more talk about him, why not give him a better look in spring training? It doesn’t make sense to me. Herrera has looked better than both in very limited time, why prevent him from getting more opportunities?
I think this is one of the most glaring weaknesses. Everyone expects Contreras to get so much playing time but the guy doesn’t stay behind the plate like Yadi did. He’s probably going to give us 100 games at most. It is incredibly likely that we will see almost equal playing time in the field at the C position.
I also don’t understand why local media won’t question it.
I agree with you. I was hoping Herrera would win the backup job but it seems he wasn’t even in the discussion.
he still may, now just a theory they may have wilson get the bulk of the starts early as c and when the season drags on where the bu is starting more and herrera is playing good he gets called up.
unless wilson is abysmal behind the plate why rush herrera up
Is it just me or has Walker really fallen off as spring winds down. I wonder if he isn’t better served heading to AAA for a couple months.
Walker needs to go to the IL for a while. He dropped off immediately after hurting his shoulder.
Bring back clean-shaven Monty!
Like anyone would really want Andrew Knizner….
Can’t hit, can’t field the position. I have no idea why Stl is holding onto him.
Knizner is a washout. He’s had ample opportunities and it’s just not going to come together.
Every time he’s gotten extended playing time he’s hit. Go look at his number in July and August last year while Yadi was “injured” and watching basketball in Puerto Rico. Knizner hit well in the minors with extended at bats as well. He can’t help it the Cardinals have jerked him around to play a legacy player who should have retired 3 years earlier.
That’s simply not true. You can cite one particular time when he was semi-decent, but there’s been no consistency. Furthermore, Yadi has little impact on Knizner getting reps this spring training. The job was his for the taking. What’s the excuse now?
The Cardinals needed to play Knizner more the last few years. In fairness it would have been against the wishes of Molina. Overall it would have been better for both players. Whoever wins the backup role should be the best defensive player, and needs to play more.
Cardinals need both Monty and the Lizard King next year. Hoping they can come to extension agreements. Our future starting pitching looks weak.
Motter will be the reserve option for like 2-3 weeks at most.