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Joe Maddon: Mike Montgomery Has 'Solid Foot In The Door' To Join Cubs' Rotation In 2017

(CBS) Two days after the Cubs declined to exercise a 2017 option on right-hander Jason Hammel, manager Joe Maddon indicated that left-hander Mike Montgomery is in line to take his spot in the team's rotation next season.

"He's got a solid foot in the door for that," Maddon said in an interview with Matt Spiegel and Jon Greenberg on 670 The Score on Tuesday.

The Cubs acquired the 27-year-old Montgomery in a trade with the Mariners in July. He filled a variety of roles for them, being a spot starter, long reliever, left-handed specialist and eventually became such a trusted arm that he recorded the save for the Cubs in Game 7 of the World Series.

Montgomery was 4-5 with a 2.52 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 49 appearances, including seven starts, in 2016 in time split between Seattle and Chicago. He made five of those starts for the Cubs.

In the postseason, Montgomery had a 3.14 ERA in 14 1/3 innings.

"Montgomery, I'm telling you man, this guy is a legitimate major league starter," Maddon said. "He's going to win a lot of major league baseball games. The big thing with him is we have to keep him on point, on task and have him understand how to utilize his stuff, because his stuff in that good."

In parting ways with Hammel, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein mentioned the team wants to explore "internal and external" options to fill Hammel's spot. They're expected to engage in discussions on the trade market, but if they don't make a move, it appears Montgomery is in line to join Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks and John Lackey in Chicago's rotation.

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