Red Sox and Montgomery had a Zoom meeting in early

Red Sox and Montgomery had a Zoom meeting in early February

The Red Sox were tied Jordan Montgomery for most of the off-season. It was reported last week that the Sox remained interested in the left-hander but were continuing to wait for his asking price to drop.

ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted this morning that the Red Sox had “recently” conducted a Zoom meeting with Montgomery. Manager Alex Cora confirmed to Boston that the meeting took place, but stated that it occurred before the start of spring training.

“Buster is right,” Cora said (link via Christopher Smith and Sean McAdam of MassLive). “We Zoomed with him. But we Zoomed with a lot of people in the offseason. I won't go into details, but yes, it's part of the process. It's been a while too. I was in South Beach for this. I was in Miami.” Smith and McAdam point out that Cora was in Miami the weekend of February 9-11 to watch the end of the Caribbean series and attend a University of Miami alumni event.

Obviously, this conversation did not lead to an immediate agreement. With Montgomery still on the market two and a half weeks later, the Sox remain a logical fit. They didn't increase their crop rotation significantly throughout the winter. Boston took a flight Lucas Giolito before shipment Chris Sale for the second baseman Vaughn Grissom.

Currently they are ready to start the season with Giolito's first four players. Brayan Bello, Nick Pivetta And Cutter Crawford. right Tanner Houck, Garrett Whitlock And Josh Winckowski would fight for last place. Placing Montgomery at the top of the group would allow Boston to keep the bottom three arms in multiple inning relief roles to start the year.

[Related: Where Does The Market Stand For Jordan Montgomery?]

The question is whether his price will drop to a level the Red Sox are comfortable with. CEO Sam Kennedy said last month that the Sox expected to open the season with a lower payroll than in 2023. Roster Resource estimates their 2024 CBT figure to be around $202 million. That's nowhere near the base threshold of $237 million and about $23 million below last year's estimated mark. Signing Montgomery wouldn't push the Sox into CBT territory, but it would likely put them close to their 2023 spending range.

One of the “Boras Four”, Cody Bellinger, came off the market at the weekend with a three-year contract. The $80 million guarantee was nowhere near what his camp was seeking at the start of the offseason. A reported request for $200 million never materialized, leaving Bellinger to settle for a modified cushion contract that could allow him to test free agency again through opt-outs in one of the next two offseasons.

Such a contract might not be that attractive for Montgomery. He recently turned 31 and was ineligible for the qualifying offer this offseason as he was sent from St. Louis to Texas midseason. If he were to accept an opt-out deal, he could have to deal with draft compensation in a future offseason. Montgomery is coming off his third straight year of reaching 30 starts. He threw a personal best of 188 2/3 innings with a 3.20 ERA, which was the best mark of his career. He added 31 innings of 2.90 ERA ball in six postseason games, helping the Rangers to their first title in franchise history.