Yankees receive OF Bader from Cardinals for LHP Montgomery

NEW YORK – The Yankees acquired Gold Glove-winning center fielder Harrison Bader from the St. Louis Cardinals for left-hander Jordan Montgomery before Tuesday’s trade deadline, a surprising deal aimed at improving the defense.

Bader, a speedy 28-year-old from Bronxville, N.Y., has not played since June 26 because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

When he returns, he would likely play center field with newly acquired Andrew Benintendi in a move that would move Aaron Judge back to right and see Aaron Hicks and Benintendi share time in left, with Giancarlo Stanton as the designated hitter.

“Harrison Bader is one of the elite center field defenders in the game,” general manager Brian Cashman said, anticipating Bader’s return in September. “So it gives us a lot of lanes.”

New York, which acquired Benintendi from Kansas City last week, traded hitter-prone outfielder Joey Gallo to the Los Angeles Dodgers for minor league right-hander Clayton Beeter on Tuesday.


Montgomery went 3-3 with a 3.69 ERA in 21 starts, but went 0-2 with a 5.36 ERA over his last eight starts. His departure came one day after Frankie Montas was acquired from Oakland to join Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes and Jameson Taillon in the rotation.

“Very surprised, I guess,” Montgomery said.

Domingo Germán will likely remain in the rotation in the absence of Luis Severino, who will be sidelined at least until mid-September because of muscle strain in the right side. The Yankees seemed to conclude that Montgomery would not be needed to start the postseason.

St. Louis acquired left-hander Jose Quintana from Pittsburgh a day earlier.

“We wanted innings, especially the leadoff pitch,” Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said. “We felt like we were getting inconsistency in our rotation.”

In preparation for the stretch and playoffs, the AL-best Yankees also acquired righty relievers Scott Effross and Lou Trivino.


Bader is a graduate of the Horace Mann School in the Bronx, about 5 miles from Yankee Stadium. He went to the University of Florida and was drafted by the Cardinals in the third round in 2015.

Bader made his big league debut two years later and hit .267 last year with 16 home runs, 50 RBIs and nine stolen bases. His 15 defensive runs saved were 10th in the majors, according to the Fielding Bible, and he won a National League Gold Glove.

Slowed by the foot injury this year, Bader is hitting .256 with five home runs, 21 RBIs and 15 steals. His defensive runs saved decreased to minus-2.

Bader is in the first season of a two-year, $10.4 million contract that pays $4.7 million next year.

Montgomery, who could make his Cardinals debut against the Yankees this weekend, is 22-20 with a 3.94 ERA in six major league seasons. He was sidelined from May 2018 to September 2019 with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery.


“I still don’t think I performed the way I should have here,” Montgomery said. “Much better player than I’ve ever shown, but I think he’s been consistent and definitely worked harder.”

Montgomery has a $6 million salary and is up for arbitration next winter. Both Bader and Montgomery are eligible for free agency after the 2023 season.

Notes: New York optioned RHP Carlos Espinal to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and activated C Ben Rortvedt from 60-day IL and optioned him to the RailRiders.


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Yankees receive OF Bader from Cardinals for LHP Montgomery

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