Baseball

Red Sox, Montgomery Had Zoom Meeting Before Start Of Spring Training

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The Red Sox have been tied to Jordan Montgomery for the bulk of the offseason. Reporting last week indicated the Sox remained interested in the left-hander but continued to wait for his asking price to drop.

ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted this morning that the Red Sox had “recently” conducted a Zoom meeting with Montgomery. Manager Alex Cora confirmed to the Boston beat the meeting took place but indicated it happened before the beginning of Spring Training.

Buster is right,” Cora said (link via Christopher Smith and Sean McAdam of MassLive). “We zoomed with him. But we’ve been zooming with a lot of people throughout the offseason. I’m not going to get into specifics but yeah, it’s part of the process. It was a while ago, too. I was in South Beach for that one. I was in Miami.” Smith and McAdam point out that Cora was in Miami on the weekend of February 9-11 to watch the end of the Caribbean series and take part in a University of Miami alumni event.

Clearly, that conversation didn’t result in an immediate agreement. With Montgomery still on the market two and a half weeks later, the Sox remain a logical fit. They haven’t markedly upgraded their rotation throughout the winter. Boston took a flier on Lucas Giolito before shipping out Chris Sale for second baseman Vaughn Grissom.

They’re currently set to enter the season with a front four of Giolito, Brayan BelloNick Pivetta and Kutter Crawford. Righties Tanner HouckGarrett Whitlock and Josh Winckowski would battle for the final spot. Installing Montgomery atop the group would allow Boston to keep the latter three arms in multi-inning relief roles to begin the year.

[Related: Where Does The Market Stand For Jordan Montgomery?]

The question is whether his asking price will fall to a level with which the Red Sox are comfortable. CEO Sam Kennedy sam last month the Sox anticipated opening the season with a lower payroll than they had in 2023. Roster Resource calculates their 2024 CBT number around $202MM. That’s nowhere near the $237MM base threshold and around $23MM shy of last year’s estimated mark. Signing Montgomery wouldn’t push the Sox into CBT territory, but it would likely push them close to their 2023 spending range.

One of the “Boras Four,” Cody Bellinger, came off the market over the weekend on a three-year deal. The $80MM guarantee was nowhere near what his camp had sought early in the offseason. A reported ask above $200MM never materialized, leaving Bellinger to settle for a modified pillow contract that could allow him to retest free agency via opt-outs in either of the next two offseasons.

That kind of contract might not be as appealing to Montgomery. He recently turned 31 and was ineligible for the qualifying offer this offseason thanks to the midseason trade sending him from St. Louis to Texas. If he took an opt-out laden deal, he could have to wrestle with draft compensation in a future offseason. Montgomery is coming off a third straight year in which he reached 30 starts. He tossed a personal-high 188 2/3 innings with a 3.20 ERA that was the best mark of his career. He added 31 innings of 2.90 ERA ball over six postseason outings to help the Rangers to the first title in franchise history.

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