NEW YORK — The Yankees acquired Gold Glove-winning center fielder Harrison Bader from the St. Louis Cardinals for left-hander Jordan Montgomery ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline, a surprising deal aimed at improving defense.
A speedy 28-year-old from Bronxville, New York, Bader has not played since June 26 because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
New York traded strikeout-prone outfielder Joey Gallo to the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier Tuesday for minor league right-hander Clayton Beeter.
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 Frankie Montas was acquired from Oakland to join Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes and Jameson Taillon in the rotation.
Domingo German likely will remain in the rotation in the absence of Luis Severino, who is out until at least mid-September because of a strained lat muscle in his right side.
St. Louis obtained lefty Jose Quintana from Pittsburgh a day earlier.
“We wanted innings, specifically starting pitching,” Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said. “We felt like we were getting inconsistency out of our rotation.”
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 hit .267 last year 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 earned a National League Gold Glove.
Slowed by the foot injury this year, Bader is batting .256 with five homers, 21 RBIs and 15 steals. His defensive runs saved declined to minus-2.
Bader is in the first season of a $10.4 million, two-year 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 league seasons. He was sidelined from May 2018 until September 2019 by an elbow injury that needed Tommy John surgery.
Montgomery has a $6 million salary and is eligible for arbitration next…