Jack Flaherty could be a realistic choice for the KC Royals
Difficult to imagine, at least in St. Louis, is Jack Flaherty as anything but a Cardinal. The righthander broke in with the Cards in 2017 and, after pitching only six times that season, became a regular member of the rotation for several seasons. Serviceable but not phenomenal, he finished the 2022 campaign, during which he was 2-1, 4.25, with a career St. Louis record of 34-25, a mark that certainly would have been better had he not suffered a series of injuries in 2021 and 2022.
But this year, as the midsummer trade deadline neared and his club's playoff hopes faded, Flaherty found his name being bandied about as a potential target of contending teams searching for stretch run pitching help. Rumors became reality when, 7-6 with a 4.43 ERA, he became an Oriole after St. Louis shipped him to Baltimore for three minor leaguers.
Flaherty, however, wasn't much more help to the O's than López — opponents knocked him around for 27 runs in 34.2 innings, and he went 1-3. He pitched once in the ALDS, giving the Rangers a run, two hits, and three walks in two innings.
Can Flaherty help Kansas City? Possibly, but only if he's healthy and free from the shoulder and oblique issues that cut so deeply into his 2021 and 2022 campaigns. He'd bring an eclectic six-pitch arsenal with him.
And probably wouldn't break the bank.