MLB Rumors: Astros-Jordan Montgomery, Mike Trout trade, Cubs roadblock

  • Astros not planning on pivoting to Jordan Montgomery
  • Don't expect a Mike Trout trade anytime soon
  • Cubs-Jordan Montgomery roadblock

Oct 15, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Texas Rangers pitcher Jordan Montgomery (52) reacts after a walk
Oct 15, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Texas Rangers pitcher Jordan Montgomery (52) reacts after a walk / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
1 of 3

MLB Rumors: Cubs-Jordan Montgomery roadblock

With Blake Snell finally off the board, all eyes are on Jordan Montgomery, the clear-cut best free agent remaining. While the Chicago Cubs were never really mentioned in Snell talks, they have been listed in certain Montgomery rumors, and it's easy to see why.

Montgomery, unlike Snell, does not come with qualifying offer compensation. This means that the Cubs would not have to forfeit draft compensation to sign him. The Cubs could use another arm, especially with Jameson Taillon likely to begin the season on the injured list, but it sounds like Montgomery is not an option.

The Athletic's ($) Sahadev Sharma reported that while the Cubs like him, "The reality is the Cubs don’t appear to be a real contender for his services." There is one major roadblock in their way. The luxury tax.

"That the Cubs aren’t in on the free agents who would be the most obvious upgrades implies that the front office has to be budget-conscious," writes Sharma. "They are right at the first luxury tax threshold and the expectation is that they will pass it due to the normal roster churn that occurs throughout a season. The only way that doesn’t happen is if they end up shedding payroll (likely meaning they’re sellers) at the trade deadline. But if they’re competing at the deadline and revenues are strong, there is a belief that more money could become available and they could go over that first threshold without too much concern. How far over and whether they could even top the second luxury tax threshold is the question."

With Montgomery likely looking at a short-term high-AAV deal, the Cubs would have to commit to having a higher payroll this season. From the sound of things, they're unwilling to go much higher than they have, which is a shame because they're able to get a frontline starter in his prime without committing to term. It seems like a great deal.