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Could St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty work as a trade chip by midseason?
Flaherty is expected to be the Cardinals’ primary ace heading into the 2022 regular season — whenever that occurs, of course — along with veteran Adam Wainwright. The 26-year-old had a 3.22 ERA in 78.1 innings, along with a 1.060 WHIP.
Considering his age and his productivity, trading a player of Flaherty’s value right now isn’t in the Cardinals’ best interest. He won’t be a free agent until the end of the 2023 season, and that’s after a year of arbitration.
Flaherty’s is already being mentioned in trade scenarios considering contract extension talks aren’t going well, with Adam Weinrib of Dodgers Way even suggesting Los Angeles trade away two top-10 prospects and another back-end, high upside prospect for his services.
Cardinals: Does it make sense to trade Jack Flaherty now?
Flaherty has two years left on his contract, AND the Cardinals are entering a season in which they’re among the favorite in the National League. In short, no it doesn’t make sense to trade your ace in this situation. That is, unless the Cardinals know with absolute certainty that they won’t be able to re-sign Flaherty in his preferred window, which is next offseason before or during arbitration talks.
FanSided’s Robert Murray made that particularly clear when discussing Flaherty’s looming trade buzz:
“But trading Flaherty now, when he’s such an important part of the rotation and entering the biggest season of his career, seems risky, especially since the Cardinals are searching for more pitching depth despite signing Steven Matz. Besides, Flaherty is their most talented pitcher…A Flaherty trade is something to keep in mind after the 2022 season.”
For now, trading Flaherty appears to be off the table for St. Louis, but if negotiations take a downturn next offseason, it’s something the Cardinals could consider rather than losing him for nothing.