Acquired from Seattle in July, Mike Montgomery made five starts and 12 relief appearances during the second half of the season, flashing the potential to be an intriguing sleeper if he's tasked with starting in 2017. Cubs fans will remember Montgomery regardless of how he's utilized going forward, as he threw the final pitch in Game 7 of the World Series. Other than a spike in home runs allowed, Montgomery's peripherals between the rotation and bullpen were nearly identical last season, and his greatest obstacle in becoming a good starter will be control, as he walked batters at a 12.2 percent clip following the move to Chicago. That surge was accompanied by a spike in his swinging-strike rate, and his overall mark in 2016 (11.6 percent) points to a pitcher with good weapons and a strong understanding of how to use them. Barring an unexpected addition to the rotation, Montgomery is the frontrunner to begin 2017 as the Cubs' No. 5 starter.
Montgomery said he's comfortable with being put in the bullpen, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports. It was announced on Thursday that Brett Anderson would be the team's No. 5 starter, while Montgomery will start the year working in the bullpen, where he excelled for the Cubs in 2016. "I feel good about it," Montgomery said. "I'm here to get outs and it doesn't matter when or where it is." Anderson does have a lengthy injury history, so Montgomery could make some starts eventually.
Montgomery will begin the year in the bullpen with the announcement of Brett Anderson as the team's No. 5 starter, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports. This isn't much of a surprise, as Anderson has never pitched in relief before, while Montgomery excelled in a relief role last season, including getting the save in Game 7 of the World Series. Montgomery will begin the year in the bullpen, but Anderson's injury history would suggest that Montgomery will get some starts down the road.
Montgomery is likely to begin the year in a long-relief/spot-starter role, with Brett Anderson as the team's fifth starter, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Anderson has never been a reliever, while Montgomery excelled in a relief role last season, including getting the save in Game 7 of the World Series. However, Anderson has a history of missing games due to injury, so Montgomery could find himself in the rotation at some point. Cubs manager Joe Maddon has also said he may take a "hybrid" approach that occasionally uses a sixth starter.
Montgomery struck out five while allowing two runs on two hits over three innings against the Royals on Sunday. His spring ERA now sits at 4.50, while the Cubs continue to pitch Montgomery and Anderson as a tandem, though Carl Edwards Jr. worked the fourth inning before Anderson started the fifth in Sunday's game. The Cubs haven't been particularly clear about their plans to open the year, though the suggestion from manager Joe Maddon has been that Montgomery and Anderson could share the No. 5 starter job. Eddie Butler has been impressive this spring, however, so he could be given an opportunity to take over the role if Montgomery and Anderson fall short or succumb to injury.
Manager Joe Maddon said that Montgomery could share the fifth spot in the rotation with Brett Anderson, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports. The two lefties were reportedly competing for the No. 5 spot this spring, but it could turn out that the competition ends in a tie. Maddon says he's considering the move because neither pitcher has reached the 200-inning plateau in a season yet. Anderson, in particular, missed a majority of last season with wrist and finger injuries, and has been injury plagued throughout his career. This move would limit the fantasy upside of both players.