Rangers trade for Cardinals’ Jordan Montgomery, Chris Stratton

The Texas Rangers further strengthened themselves for a championship run Sunday, acquiring left-handed starter Jordan Montgomery and right-handed reliever Chris Stratton from St. Louis Cardinals one day after completing a deal for ace Max Scherzer.

With the best offense in baseball, the Rangers took advantage of their abundant minor league system and sent two top prospects—infielder Thomas Saggese and right-hander Tekoah Roby—along with left-handed reliever John King to the St. Louis.

Although the cost was steep, the 30-year-old Montgomery was one of the prizes of this deadline season, and adding him and Scherzer not only changes the Rangers’ projected playoff rotation, but protects them with right-hander Nathan Eovaldi hitting the damaged list. Sunday with a tight forearm.

Montgomery, who is a free agent this winter, was 6-9 with a 3.42 ERA, 108 strikeouts and 35 walks over 121 innings with the St. Louis. Acquired last year at the deadline from the New York Yankees for center fielder Harrison Bader, Montgomery was the Cardinals’ best starter this season and drew interest from several teams before landing in Texas.

Stratton, 32, adds to the Rangers’ bullpen depth, which they already boosted in June with the acquisition of left-hander Aroldis Chapman. In 53⅔ innings, the fifth most of any reliever in baseball this season, Stratton had a 4.36 ERA, though his underlying metrics suggest he’s been unlucky and could see positive regression.

For a few loan players, St. Louis’ return significant.

Saggese and Roby, both 21, were part of Texas’ move in the 2020 draft. Saggese, who will likely end up at second or third base, is hitting .314/.380/.514 with 15 home runs and 78 RBIs this season and was a particular favorite among evaluators who have covered the Rangers’ system. Roby has a four-pitch mix, and while his 5.05 ERA is unsightly, he has struck out four times as many batters as he has walked this season and limited hitters to five home runs over 46⅓ innings.

King, 28, was nearly traded to the Yankees at the deadline two years ago in the Joey Gallo deal. When a new iteration of that deal didn’t include him, he stayed with the Rangers. He has a 5.79 ERA in 18⅔ innings this season while bouncing between the big leagues and Triple-A.

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