MLB Rumors: Teams out on Ohtani, Braves-Shane Bieber trade, Cubs sleeper target

  • If Cubs miss out on top SP targets, they have a high-end backup plan
  • What a Braves trade for Shane Bieber could look like
  • Several teams bow out of Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes

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Los Angeles Angels v New York Mets / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages
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MLB Rumors: Cubs linked to Jordan Montgomery as sleeper target

Name a big free agent in the 2023-24 MLB offseason, and there's a good chance that the Chicago Cubs have been connected to it. You could also apply this to the trade market as well, specifically as it pertains to their starting pitching.

Whether we're talking Shohei Ohtani (after 2024 for pitching, of course), Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Tyler Glasnow or Dylan Cease trades, or another of other options, it seems as if the Cubs are dead-set on big-game hunting to fill out the rotation. This is especially true with Marcus Stroman now walking after declining his option.

But if the Cubs miss out on those top targets, all of whom are highly coveted around the league, where would they turn? How about a World Series winner who is quite familiar with the NL Central?

Jeff Passan of ESPN ($) reported on Friday that the Cubs could look at LHP Jordan Montgomery as a proverbial backup plan if they were to miss out on Yamamoto or one of the high-profile trade targets currently being floated around. However, there will be competition:

"The Rangers want to re-sign him. He could be a strike-first option for Boston if it's feeling squishy about Yamamoto. Same to the Cubs, particularly if the top end of the market doesn't pan out," Passan wrote.

Montgomery has been traded twice in the past two seasons, but not because of lack of performance. The Yankees dealt him to the Cubs rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, in 2022 before the Cards bottomed out this past season and traded him as a rental to the Rangers, which worked splendidly as Montgomery helped lead the way to the franchise's first ring.

Over 64 starts in the past two seasons, though, the southpaw has been stellar with a 3.34 ERA, 1.144 WHIP, 3.59 FIP and 324/84 strikeout/walk ration. He's been the goods. Even if he's proposed as a Plan B type for the Cubs, he could perform like a Plan A option if that's the direction that Chicago were to end up going in.