Things Have Gone So Very Badly for Two of the Late-Signing Starting Pitchers

I knew it’d been a rough start to the year for new Giants lefty Blake Snell and new Diamondbacks lefty Jordan Montgomery, but it kind of came to a head in Montgomery’s last outing.

It was bad, bad, bad:

For his part, Montgomery is very down on himself:

Oof.

Then you have Snell, for whom things have been even worse. Not only are the results worse (9.51 ERA over six starts), but Snell has also dealt with multiple injuries already (he’s on the IL now with a left groin strain, and missed a chunk earlier in the year with a left adductor strain). There were a number of reasons I wasn’t super into Snell as a free agent, but even I didn’t expect it to open up this poorly for Snell and the Giants.

Although I wasn’t banging the table as loudly as some for the Cubs to sign Montgomery, I was definitely disappointed that they weren’t involved at the very modest eventual price tag ($25 million for one year, plus a vesting option for 2025). He may yet prove to be worth that deal, but for now, it’s hard to maintain any of that disappointment – good call, Jed and Carter.

Given just how badly things have started this season for Montgomery and Snell, and given how widely discussed their late free agency had become, it’s fair to wonder if these are just two things that happen, or if both pitchers were seriously harmed by the lack of a Spring Training. Sure, they ramped up and tried to do what you WOULD do in a Spring Training progression, but maybe a full Spring Training is just not really replicable on your own. For pitchers, anyway.

Meanwhile, the late positional signers – Cody Bellinger, Matt Chapman, and J.D. Martinez – have more or less been fine. Ups and downs, sure, but all three are more or less playing like “themselves.” Again, you just wonder, especially given that we’ve heard before that position players can be ready with just a week or two of Spring Training games, while pitchers have always seemed to need much more.

Will this impact how teams and players and agents proceed in free agency next offseason? Will there be more early signings? Or will teams use the struggles of Montgomery and Snell to further squeeze players whose free agency spills over into January? “Better sign now at our price, otherwise you might last into Spring Training and have your season totally wrecked.

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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