The St. Louis Cardinals continued their trade deadline teardown with another deal Tuesday evening. Right-hander Jack Flaherty is being traded to the Baltimore Orioles, the teams announced. ( and lefty starter Jordan Montgomery and righty reliever Chris Stratton to the Rangers as part of the sell-off.) The Cardinals will receive infielder Cesar Prieto, left-hander Drew Rom and right-hander Zack Showalter in return.
Still only 27, Flaherty has struggled with injuries the last few years and he's battled his control at times this season. He owns a 4.43 ERA in 109 2/3 innings, and he has completed at least five innings in 16 of his 20 starts. The Orioles are surely hoping Flaherty can recapture his 2019 second-half form, when he allowed 11 runs in 15 starts and was the best pitcher in baseball.
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Flaherty, another impending free agent, isn't the pitcher he was earlier in his career, when he received both Cy Young and Most Valuable Player Award consideration. These days, he doesn't throw hard; he doesn't miss bats; and he doesn't throw an extreme amount of strikes. He relies, almost entirely, on suppressing quality of contact. To his credit, that's worked out to roughly a league-average ERA+ the last two seasons. Flaherty's next employer might tinker with his pitch mix, perhaps asking him to throw more curveballs, but there's a non-zero chance he ends up on the outside of a playoff rotation.
The Cardinals originally selected Flaherty with the No. 34 pick in the 2014 draft. He reached the big leagues shortly before his 22nd birthday in 2017. Flaherty will be one of the youngest starting pitchers on the free agent market this upcoming offseason. He could make himself a lot of money with a strong finish to the season.
The first-place Orioles, meanwhile, needed another veteran arm. They recently demoted Tyler Wells after some recent struggles, and will soon have to deal with significant innings increases for the likes of Dean Kremer and Kyle Bradish.
Baseball America recently ranked Prieto No. 14 in the O's system, citing his chances for becoming a reserve at the game's highest level. Rom, for his part, was ranked 16th as a possible back-end starter.