Yankees get OF Bader from Cardinals for LHP Montgomery

NEW YORK (AP) – The Yankees have acquired Gold Glove-winning center fielder Harrison Bader from the St. Louis Cardinals for left-hander Jordan Montgomery before Tuesday’s trade deadline, a stunning deal aimed at improving the defense.

A speedy 28-year-old from Bronxville, New York, Bader hasn’t played since June 26 with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

When he returns, he would likely play shared center with newly acquired Andrew Benintendi in a move that would put Aaron Judge back in right and see Aaron Hicks and Benintendi share time in left, with Giancarlo Stanton as the designated hitter.

“Harrison Bader is one of the top center fielders in the game,” general manager Brian Cashman said, expecting Bader to return in September. “So it provides us with multiple lanes.”

New York, which acquired Benidenti from Kansas City last week, traded strikeout-prone Joey Gallo to the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier Tuesday for right-hander Clayton Bitter.

Montgomery was 3-3 with a 3.69 ERA in 21 starts, but was 0-2 with a 5.36 ERA in his last eight outings. His departure came one day after Oakland acquired Frankie Montas to join Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes and Jameson Taillon in the rotation.

“Rather shocked,” Montgomery said.

Domingo Germán will likely remain in the rotation in the absence of Luis Severino, who will be out until at least mid-September with a strained lat muscle on his right side. The Yankees appeared to conclude that Montgomery would not be needed for a postseason opener.

St. Louis acquired lefty José Quintana from Pittsburgh a day earlier.

“We wanted innings, specifically starting pitching,” Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said. “We felt it took inconsistency out of our rotation.”

St. Louis also acquired catcher Austin Allen from Oakland on Tuesday for right-hander Carlos Guarate

In preparation for the stretch run and the playoffs, the AL-best Yankees also acquired righty relievers Scott Efross and Lou Trivino.

Bader is a graduate of Horace Mann School in the Bronx, about 5 miles from Yankee Stadium. He went to the University of Florida and was drafted by the Cardinals in the third round in 2015.

Bader made his big league debut two years later and last year hit .267 with 16 homers, 50 RBIs and nine stolen bases. His 15 defensive runs saved were 10th in the majors, according to the Fielding Bible, and he won a National League Gold Glove.

Slowed by a foot injury this year, Bader is hitting .256 with five homers, 21 RBIs and 15 steals. His defensive streak dropped to minus-2.

Bader is in the first season of a two-year, $10.4 million contract that pays $4.7 million next year.

Montgomery, who could make his Cardinals debut against the Yankees this weekend, is 22-20 with a 3.94 ERA in six big seasons. He was sidelined from May 2018 to September 2019 with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery.

“I still don’t think I’ve ever played like I should have here,” Montgomery said. “A much better player than I’ve ever shown, but I think he’s been consistent and I’ve definitely worked hard.”

Montgomery has a $6 million salary and is arbitration eligible next winter. Both Bader and Montgomery are eligible for free agency after the 2023 season.

Allen was 1-for-14 this season for Oakland and hit .271 with five homers and 26 RBIs for Triple-A Las Vegas. Guarate, 21, is 5-4 with a 4.18 ERA in 12 starts and seven relief appearances for Class A Palm Beach.

Notes: New York optioned RHP Carlos Espinal to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and activated C Ben Rortvedt from the 60-day IL and optioned him to the RailRiders.

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