Jordan Montgomery helped the Rangers win their first World Series last season and remains a free agent with spring training underway. The Red Sox reportedly have had meetings with Montgomery. David J. Phillip/Associated Press

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Rumors began swirling Monday morning that conversations between the Red Sox and free agent starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery have been heating up, including one report by ESPN’s Buster Olney that Red Sox Manager Alex Cora and Montgomery had recently held a meeting over Zoom.

Speaking to reporters, Cora confirmed that meeting did indeed take place, saying the two spoke about two weeks ago while Cora was in Miami visiting his alma mater.

“Buster is right, we zoomed with him, but we’ve been zooming with a lot of people throughout the offseason. I’m not going to get into specifics but it’s part of the process,” Cora said. “And it was a while ago too, I was in South Beach for that one. That was in Miami like two weeks ago.”

Since the offseason began Montgomery has been regarded as an obvious fit for the Red Sox. The 31-year-old has made 30 or more starts in each of the last three seasons and is coming off a strong season in which he posted a 3.20 ERA over 188 2/3 innings while leading the Texas Rangers to their first World Series championship in franchise history.

The Red Sox starting rotation badly needs that kind of consistency and stability, and as the offseason has dragged on club legends – and even current star Rafael Devers – have grown increasingly outspoken about the club’s failure to bring in sufficient reinforcements.

While Montgomery and the Red Sox may be a perfect fit on paper, a source told the Boston Herald that a big factor in Montgomery’s dragging free agency is he wants to return to the Rangers. Montgomery had a career-defining experience with the organization following his midseason trade, but Texas is experiencing significant financial uncertainty related to the ongoing bankruptcy of Diamond Sports Group, its local broadcasting partner, and has taken a much more cautious approach this offseason.


Still, Montgomery and his representation have kept in touch with other suitors. Cora’s confirmation came shortly after veteran sportswriter Peter Gammons also relayed that a National League executive told him, “we hear the Red Sox and Scott Boras had a good meeting recently and may get some deal eventually done on Jordan Montgomery.”

Though Cora wouldn’t comment on the specifics of any ongoing negotiations, he said the club is still in active discussions with numerous free agents, including both pitchers and position players.

“We’ve been working hard the whole offseason and it’s not a lack of trying, I’m telling you,” Cora said. “It’s been a lot of meetings, a lot of conversations, obviously (Chief Baseball Officer) Craig (Breslow) has had a lot of conversations with agents, it’s where we’re at right now. We’re still engaged with position players, with pitchers, we’re trying to improve, and if there’s an opportunity to do that we’ll jump on it, but right now it hasn’t worked out or we haven’t found a match.”

Red Sox shortstop Trevor Story said he plans to be more vocal in this third season in Boston. Nick Wass/Associated Press

THE RED SOX aren’t hiding from the fact that they’re once again projected to finish in last place in the American League East and are viewed as having a minimal shot to return to the postseason for the first time since 2021. In fact, it appears they’re embracing a chip-on-their-shoulder mentality.

One of the team’s leaders sure is. On the latest Fenway Rundown podcast, shortstop Trevor Story said that the Red Sox are embracing the idea of self-belief and proving doubters wrong as Opening Day approaches.

“It’s definitely real,” Story said. “We have a very talented group and I think that gets overlooked a little bit. We’ve added some additions who haven’t necessarily been players, but whether it’s (Andrew) Bailey trying to get the most out of the pitching staff or things like that.


“We embrace it, man. It’s something that has to be our identity if we want to be good. If we’re sitting here believing all the stuff that’s said about us, why even go out there and play? It is going to be a big part of our identity but it’s something we truly believe. We know we can pitch better. We know we can hit better than we have the past couple years and we’ve been all right offensively. Defense comes into play there. We feel like, overall, we’re attacking our weaknesses with the personnel we do have. That’s why I think the feeling is that way.”

The Red Sox finished 78-84 last year and missed the postseason for the second straight year. In the offseason, Breslow didn’t make meaningful upgrades to the roster, swapping out veterans Chris Sale, Justin Turner, James Paxton, Alex Verdugo and Adam Duvall (still a free agent) for Lucas Giolito, Vaughn Grissom, Tyler O’Neill and injured reliever Liam Hendriks. A sizable addition of a free agent like Montgomery remains possible if ownership is willing to budge on a self-imposed budget that has been in place for months. For now, though, the Red Sox are forging on with the roster they have – and it’s one the club says it believes in.

A large part of Boston’s success in 2024 likely hinges on Story, who has been limited by injuries to just 137 games in his first two years with the Red Sox. Now fully healthy after recovering from elbow surgery that cost him the first 4 1/2 months of 2023, Story will be counted on to provide a right-handed bat between Rafael Devers and Triston Casas, Gold Glove-caliber defense at shortstop, and perhaps most importantly, a leadership role in the clubhouse.

With others like Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, Turner and Sale no longer with the club, Story – who ranks second on the team in service time behind Kenley Jansen – has taken it upon himself to take on a larger role as he enters his third season in Boston.

“I’m definitely more vocal,” he said on the Fenway Rundown. “If I see something, I’m just gonna go ahead and say it. That may have not been the case in the past. Maybe the new guy coming in, I felt that. You don’t want to be stepping on people right away. But I think that just comes with the attitude and the culture that we’ve set. If somebody needs to tell me something, they’re gonna tell me. That starts with me and Raffy being willing to be vulnerable and coachable. We set the tone there. You want to stop those little things if you see it.

“The last two years, I haven’t played a lot. It lands better when you’re the guy out there playing with them, going through all the tough stuff. Guys can relate a little bit better when you’re out there with them.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.