The Chicago Cubs acquired left-handed reliever Mike Montgomery in a deal that sent the Seattle Mariners minor league first baseman Dan Vogelbach, the first of several moves expected to fortify the bullpen of the presumptive World Series favorite, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Montgomery, 27, has proven himself a valuable long man out of the bullpen after moving there this year following his major league debut in the Mariners’ rotation last season. While he isn’t considered the sort of dominant back-end reliever the Cubs still seek, his 50 1/3 innings in 30 games out of the bullpen this season speak to his abilities, as does his 2.15 ERA in a relief role. The Cubs also acquired Triple-A pitcher Jordan Pries in the deal.
Vogelbach, 23, is the headliner going back to Seattle — along with minor league starter Paul Blackburn. — after spending half a decade in the Cubs organization as one of its best, and most confounding, prospects. The issue with Vogelbach: He doesn’t have a position. Scouts consider him a marginal-at-best first baseman, and the lack of designated hitter in the National League posed a problem.
With Seattle, he may not struggle to find at-bats. Adam Lind has a sub-.700 on-base plus slugging percentage this season, and Nelson Cruz could play right field full-time if needed. After a fast start, the Mariners have struggled and find themselves at .500. Though their offense hasn’t been nearly the issue it was in years past, adding Vogelbach, who’s hitting .318/.425/.548 at Triple-A Iowa, could give them a boost.
The Cubs, in the meantime, continue to talk with other teams about further help to their bullpen, sources said. Chicago isn’t stopping there. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported Tuesday the Cubs tried to acquire starter Drew Pomeranz – who eventually went to the Red Sox – in order to flip him for another controllable starter. The Cubs’ rotation, with Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Kyle Hendricks and Jason Hammel, is considered among their greatest strengths.