The Miami Marlins have exceeded expectations so far in 2023. However, to sustain this (and to better position themselves for perennial postseason contention), they’ll likely need to acquire help from outside the organization. Leading up to the August 1 MLB trade deadline, Fish On First will profile potentially attainable players who would fit with what the Fish are building.
Jordan Montgomery is having a career year for the St. Louis Cardinals, posting a 3.23 ERA and 3.52 FIP through 103.0 innings pitched this season. He’s simply a well-rounded starting pitcher with solid control, swing-and-miss ability and the efficiency to work deep into his starts when needed. The 30-year-old has been the most valuable piece of a shaky Cardinals rotation.
Montgomery throws a sinker, changeup, curveball and occasional four-seam fastball. The curve is especially effective for him when he has the platoon advantage. He hasn’t walked any left-handed batters all season.
Another desirable quality about Montgomery is his track record of eating innings. He pitched full-length seasons in both 2021 and 2022 and he’s on pace to do the same in 2023.
The Miami Marlins starting rotation consists of Sandy Alcantara, Braxton Garrett and Jesús Luzardo, with Edward Cabrera expected to return from the injured list on this current road trip. Bryan Hoeing received an opportunity, but couldn’t fully take advantage of it—he fits better in the bullpen. The Johnny Cueto signing has not worked out, to put it gently. Posting a 2.36 ERA in 11 starts, 20-year rookie phenom Eury Pérez showed that he belongs in the majors. However, the Marlins are managing his innings carefully and recently optioned him to AA Pensacola. Trevor Rogers (right lat strain) is still more than a month away from contributing.
Montgomery is a nice fit for the Marlins to stabilize their rotation in August and eventually start playoff games for them if they’re able to make it that far.
The Cardinals are suffering through their worst season in decades, entering Sunday with the third-worst record in the National League. They have made it clear that they’re approaching the trade deadline with a willingness to sell veterans on expiring contracts like Montgomery. He’ll be among the most desired arms on the market. As long as the proposals they receive are more valuable than the compensatory draft pick that would come from Montgomery declining a qualifying offer, he’ll be moved.
The Cardinals will be seeking multiple prospects in exchange for Montgomery, at least one of them being a quality pitcher. The Marlins have to be careful not to subtract guys who are important to their 2023 playoff hopes. A package that would make sense for both sides includes Yiddi Cappe (No. 7 prospect on our updated Fish On First Top 30 list) along with 2022 draft pick Karson Milbrandt (No. 16). Both are currently assigned to High-A Beloit.
Although Cappe has struggled this season, he still has a high ceiling and would thrive in a system like the Cardinals which is well known for developing raw bats into major league talent. As for Milbrandt, he’s a projectable right-hander who conveniently grew up in the Midwest.