The Cardinals could trade SP Jack Flaherty at the deadline, but which trade destinations make the most sense for St. Louis to sell to?
It’s looking more and more like the anticipated turnaround for the St. Louis Cardinals just might not happen in the 2023 season. After a June 12 loss to the Giants, the Redbirds are now 13 games below .500 while trailing the NL Central lead by 8.5 games and sitting 7.5 games out of the Wild Card race.
MLB insider Jim Bowden of The Athletic (subscription required) noted in his early MLB Trade Deadline preview that, if the Cardinals “bottom out”, they could end up selling at the deadline. And one piece that the insider mentioned specifically was 27-year-old right-hander Jack Flaherty.
After an inauspicious start to the season, Flaherty has turned it up as of late to be a dominant force on the mound, posting a 1.50 ERA and 1.20 WHIP over his last five starts. That could make him quite an attractive trade chip for the Cardinals to deal. More importantly, he’s in the final year of his contract in St. Louis and, as Bowden mentioned, his injury history could keep the Cards from wanting to work out an extension.
But there are several contenders who could use him at least for this year and then be ready to handle a possible extension moving forward. There are four Jack Flaherty trade destinations that would work for the Cardinals to sell to, but one that St. Louis should definitely avoid.
MLB Rumors: 4 Jack Flaherty trade destinations for Cardinals to sell to, 1 to avoid
4. Houston Astros are a great Cardinals dance partner for Jack Flaherty trade
The good news for the Houston Astros is that, if the season ended today, they would be in the playoffs. The bad news for the Houston Astros is just about everything else.
Throughout the season, the defending World Series champs have been ravaged by injuries. The latest landed slugger Yordan Alvarez on the IL but it’s been pitching where they’ve been hit the hardest. Luis Garcia is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, Jose Urquidy has been out for an extended period of time, and Lance McCullers Jr.’s recovery has not gone smoothly as he’s still yet to make a start this season.
Make no mistake, the Astros have been able to piecework the rotation together. Framber Valdez has been dominant while Christian Javier and Hunter Brown have been great as well. Then we’ve also seen an unlikely performance from the likes of J.P. France.
For a Houston team that has high-end aspirations for this season as they hope to repeat in the Fall Classic, a one-year rental on someone like Jack Flaherty makes a ton of sense.
The Astros have a strong farm system that could entice the Cardinals in a potential trade and also serve the purpose of replenishing St. Louis for the future. That could be a win-win in any potential deal and, ultimately, it’d be wise to expect Houston to be aggressive after a clear upgrade at a position of need at the trade deadline.