Matt Marton | USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Montgomery was clearly devastated when the Yankees traded him to the St. Louis Cardinals at last month’s trade deadline. He even cried when saying his farewells to the New York media.

But now, the lanky lefty is loving life by the Arch. He went on R2C2, CC Sabathia and Ryan Ruocco’s podcast, and has nothing but good things to say about his new team. When asked how he felt about the trade in the aftermath, Montgomery made his feelings on the deal and the Yankees known.

“At the end of the day, I’m wanted here,” he said. “They traded for a guy that’s going to pitch in the playoffs for them, and who knows? They might lock me down or want me long-term. But they traded for a dog and somebody to get them through the playoffs. And it’s nice to feel wanted. Fans are great here. Nothing but encouraging. I feel wanted. It’s easier to be myself.”

Jordan Montgomery also elaborated on how he’s pitched to a 5-0 record with a 1.45 ERA in seven Cardinals starts. Simply put, St. Louis encouraged him throwing his fastball while the Yankees discouraged it.

“I didn’t really have much faith in my heater at the Yankees,” he said. “I mean, I’d been told it wasn’t that good compared to my other pitches. And if I was gonna get hit, it was gonna be on a curveball or a changeup, which isn’t how you can pitch. So if I got two strikes on a guy, he was probably auto-taking ‘cause I was gonna throw a curveball or a changeup.”


Now, however, consider Montgomery a fastball guy and, in his mind, a more complete pitcher.

“I’m throwing my fastball in two-strike counts. I’m throwing anything in any count now,” he continued. “So it’s definitely opened up.”

There’s a lot to unpack here. First, Jordan Montgomery clearly takes being traded personally despite all his success in St. Louis. New York was his first organization, all he knew as a pro, and all his friends were there.

What stands out more, however, is just how the Yankees organization seems to handle pitchers. Montgomery is right that relying on curveballs and changeups isn’t the right way to pitch. Establishing a fastball is important regardless of how strong the secondary pitches are.

This isn’t to say the Yankees were wrong to have Montgomery move away from his fastball. Yankee Stadium is small and the AL East a hard-hitting division. Any fastball-dominant pitcher needs to have an elite four-seamer to use it heavily in that division. For so long, it seemed Montgomery was more of a junkballer who occasionally fooled hitters with his fastball.

Yet, all of his success in St. Louis has come on the back of his fastball. Perhaps as the Yankees developed him, Montgomery mastered the curveball, changeup, and cutter at the expense of developing his fastball. He even added this method negatively affected his velocity and he’s only just rediscovered it with the Cardinals.

But Montgomery insists despite his opinions, he has no hard feelings towards the Yankees. Well, not too many at least.

“I’ve got no grudges against anybody over there,” he added. “But it is what it is. It’s a business, I guess.”

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Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.