All we’re asking for is a phone call! Not out of the question whatsoever, and it’s not like the St. Louis Cardinals would rebuff potential trade talks if the New York Yankees came forward with a legitimate offer for right-hander Jack Flaherty.
The reason we’re even thinking about this is because Flaherty and the Cards seemed to have had a bit of a falling out. Last February, the two sides had an uncomfortable arbitration spat, where Flaherty filed for a $3.9 million salary and St. Louis countered at $3 million. We’re talking about $900K for a guy who was one of the best pitchers in the NL in 2018 and 2019.
In the end, Flaherty won the arbitration case after it went to a panel (the Cardinals wouldn’t meet in the middle at $3.45 million, which is pathetic) and it marked the second time since 1999 (the other was Michael Wacha in 2017) that the team played out this process with a player.
At the time of the incident, here’s what Zachary Silver of MLB.com wrote of the two sides’ recent history when it comes to contracts:
"“Flaherty and the Cards have had brushes before, as he rejected the club’s proposed salary the past two years in the lead-up to this first time through arbitration. The club “renewed” his salary for those seasons.”"
OK. So there’s a clear disconnect, despite Flaherty saying he wouldn’t call it “inevitable” that he’ll hit free agency after the 2023 season. He wouldn’t rule out an agreement with the Cardinals, but it’s evident that they’re not valuing him as highly as he values himself.
They just brought in Steven Matz on a four-year, $44 million contract this offseason, which gives them depth and the ability to cope with Flaherty’s potential departure.
Could the Cardinals be willing to trade Jack Flaherty to the Yankees?
St. Louis had 13 pitchers start games in 2021. Adam Wainwright led the charge, followed by Kwang-hyun Kim, Flaherty, Carlos Martinez, John Gant, Johan Oviedo, Miles Mikolas, Jon Lester, JA Happ, Jake Woodford, Wade LeBlanc, Daniel Ponce de Leon, and Dakota Hudson.
Forget about Martinez because he’s no longer a viable option, and Lester, LeBlanc and Happ are gone. So that thins things out a bit. But what if the Yankees returned someone like Domingo German or Chad Green alongside a few prospects in a potential deal? Maybe throw in Clarke Schmidt, Luis Gil or Deivi Garcia, too? Maybe two of them? Maybe two of the five listed above plus Luis Medina? Not enough? Maybe one of the above plus Austin Wells? Depends what the Cards want.
The Cardinals currently have four 40-man spots open. Flaherty’s value is technically “down” at the moment since he’s pitched in just 26 total games since the start of 2020 due to the team’s COVID outbreak two seasons ago and then a shoulder issue in 2021. He’s also owed $5.1 million this season. If St. Louis doesn’t think there’s a future with Flaherty and aren’t high on what he can provide in 2022 (the team also isn’t expected to explore an extension with him until next offseason), why wouldn’t they want to improve their all-around pitching depth and add to their farm system by trading him?
Did we mention our guy Jack isn’t a big fan of the St. Louis media, either? Well, at least “clickbait” Jeff Jones of BND.com, it seems?
OK, we’ll stop trying to build a nonsensical case beyond the fit for the Yankees, the apparent tension between Flaherty and his current team, and the ability for New York to really help St. Louis deepen their pitching staff ahead of a pivotal 2022. We’ll leave it there for ya.