3) Braves backup plans after striking out on Aaron Nola: Jordan Montgomery
One reason Nola was such an attractive option is because of his ability to pitch deep into games consistently. He's had his inconsistencies ERA-wise, but Nola has made at least 32 starts with at least 180 innings pitched in each of the last five full seasons (excluding 2020). That kind of durability and consistency is virtually impossible to come by.
While Jordan Montgomery doesn't have quite that track record, he's been able to make at least 30 starts with at least 155 innings of work in each of the last three seasons. During that time he's posted a 3.48 ERA in 94 starts for the Yankees, Cardinals and Rangers, helping each of those teams make the postseason.
For Texas down the stretch this past season, Montgomery posted a 2.79 ERA in 11 regular season starts, and was just as good, if not better in the postseason. The 2.1 scoreless innings he threw in Game 7 of the ALCS against Houston were huge in the Rangers victory.
If Atlanta was comfortable going to the lengths the Phillies did to strike a deal with Nola, there's a good chance they'll be comfortable giving Montgomery the deal he's likely going to get in free agency. It'll be less than Nola, but still a substantial commitment. He'll be 31 by Opening Day and has turned into one of the best pitchers in all of baseball.