Whether one believes this is Jordan Montgomery being critical of the Yankees for trading Sonny Gray depends on one's interpretation. But at the very least, Montgomery believes the Reds did a great piece of business in acquring Gray last month and signing him to a three-year, $30.5 million contract extension.
"Cincinnati got a steal," Montgomery told NJ.com on Thursday.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman was very public about his intent to move Gray, and he finally did on Jan. 21 in what was essentially a three-way trade. The Yankees received a 2019 Competitive Balance Round A draft pick and 2B Shed Long from Cincinnati; the Yanks then sent Long to Seattle for OF Josh Stowers; the Reds received Gray and LHP Reiver Sanmartin.
Gray was a big flop in the Bronx after the Yankees acquired him from Oakland at the 2017 trade deadline, a deal in which the Yanks gave up Dustin Fowler, Jorge Mateo and James Kaprielian. That season he went 4-7 with a 3.72 ERA (4.87 FIP,) 1.26 WHIP and 59 strikeouts in 65.1 innings with the Yanks. Last season, Gray went 11-9 with a 4.90 ERA (4.17 FIP,) 1.50 WHIP and 123 strikeouts in 130.1 innings.
Montgomery, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, clearly feels Gray can reclaim the form he displayed in 2015 when he was an All-Star with Oakland and received Cy Young votes.
"That's why Cincinnati locked him up as fast as they could have," Montgomery said. "I think, for his sake, I think we're going to see the guy who (was) in Oakland, a top-three Cy Young winner and I think he's going to get back to form and be the guy he's always been."
Perhaps preparing for a post-playing career as an agent, Montgomery also expressed that he feels Gray is underpaid.
"He's getting paid $30 million -- I think he's the caliber pitcher who should be way more than that. He outdueled Justin Verlander" Montgomery said, referencing a playoff game from 2013 in which each starter allowed zero runs and took a no-decision. "He's just got electric stuff. He's confident out there."
And Montgomery sure is confident in Gray.