CHICAGO (AP) — The NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs added bullpen help Wednesday by acquiring left-hander Mike Montgomery from the Seattle Mariners for first baseman and designated hitter Dan Vogelbach.
Chicago obtained right-handed prospect Jordan Pries in the deal. Right-hander Paul Blackburn also goes to Seattle.
The 27-year-old Montgomery has a 2.34 ERA in two starts and 30 relief appearances with the Mariners this season. The former first round pick of Kansas City was traded to Tampa Bay in the 2012 James Shields deal, when the Cubs’ Joe Maddon was managing Tampa Bay.
“I was with him in two spring trainings. I was in Triple-A, but I went to the big league camp. I had conversations with him and he’s great. Everything about him was fun, so I’m looking forward to it,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery said Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto told him about the trade during Seattle’s 6-5 win over the White Sox in 11 innings.
“I was a little sad at first, understanding that I’m not going to be here with these guys in this city. But at the same time, I’m excited because I’m going to a good team and I’m ready to go contribute any way I can and help them win a World Series,” Montgomery said.
“It kind of hit me by surprise,” he said. “When I heard the news, I wasn’t shocked, but I definitely didn’t see it coming.”
Montgomery said the Cubs told him he would begin in the bullpen.
“Mike had a good deal of value in the market today,” Dipoto said. “I told him he built up so much equity from opening day to today in the industry, that his value I thought was at a high.”
“He pitched incredibly well for us, he did a great job in the ‘pen, he’s done a great job since we asked him to fill in in the rotation and he fills a real niche for the Cubs. I think that combination of events allowed us to get a pretty good deal for him,” he said.
Maddon described Montgomery as “big left-hander with a very good arm.”
“He’s certainly not a household name, but we think he’s got a chance to take off,” Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said.
Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer was looking for a boost in the bullpen with Travis Wood and Clayton Richard the only healthy left-handers. The NL Central leading-Cubs are likely to seek more reinforcements as they aim for the club’s first World Series title since 1908.
“Every day they come down and talk to me postgame about what their thoughts are,” Maddon said after Wednesday’s 6-2 win over the New York Mets. “They’re obviously very good at piecing everything together. I just give my suggestions when asked. We’re working diligently every day, and Mike Montgomery is a nice fellow.”
Vogelbach, 23, was hitting .318 with 16 homers and 64 RBIs in 89 games for Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs selected Vogelbach in the second round of the 2011 amateur draft.
Pries, 26, had a 4.93 ERA in Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma this season. The 22-year-old Blackburn had a 3.17 ERA in 18 starts with Double-A Tennessee.
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