You switch boroughs and then realize some of your pals from the old neighborhood have done the same. This is what it may feel like if the New York Mets end up with a couple of Carlos Mendoza’s old colleagues from his time with the New York Yankees.
Mendoza was the bench coach for the Yankees since November of 2019 before joining the Mets this offseason as the new skipper. It’s not out of the ordinary for players from one New York team to go to the next. With Mendoza able to speak up on behalf of some of those players, it might even be more expected than usual.
It’s these three former Yankees who could make the most sense to reunite with Mendy in Queens.
1) Jordan Montgomery
After Yoshinobu Yamamoto, no free agent pitcher may make more sense for the Mets than Jordan Montgomery. Because he was traded at the deadline, he was ineligible for the qualifying offer. This should have more teams putting him high on their priority list this offseason as there is no punishment for inking him to a deal.
Montgomery’s time with the Yankees spanned from 2017 through mid-2022 when they shocked us all by trading him to the St. Louis Cardinals for Harrison Bader. While Bader could certainly be considered for a list like this, he was left off in favor of two others. Signing a free agent center fielder shouldn’t be a priority for the Mets. Montgomery, meanwhile, seems to fit in much better for what the Mets are ready to do.
Through parts of seven big league seasons that include a lot of missed time early on, Montgomery has gone 38-34 with a 3.68 ERA. Next year is his age 31 season which back in the day would have had a few of us scared. Not anymore. We know better. Pitchers sometimes take until they reach their quarter-life crisis to start performing at their best.
Montgomery never quite got his chance to be excellent with the Yankees because of the time he missed in 2018 and 2019. However, since returning from Tommy John Surgery, he has been a high-performing starter bound to continue on the path he’s currently on. He posted a 3.48 ERA in 2022 and a 3.20 ERA in 2023.
Most intriguing is how Montgomery got better post-trade deadline and led two teams to the playoffs. This past year it was the Texas Rangers who were rewarded for adding him. His best performance of all came in the ALCS where he won a pair of games versus the Houston Astros while allowing only 2 earned runs in 14 innings of work.