Today’s MLB trade deadline will let us know which teams are throwing in the towel on 2022, and who will be fighting for an opportunity to win it all. These are just a few scenarios from what is shaping up to be an extremely active deadline.
St. Louis Cardinals – Find Replacement for Jack Flaherty
Even with the MVP season first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is having, the Cardinals find themselves trailing the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central headed into the deadline. The pitching staff for the Cards has underperformed, partially due to injury. One pitcher in particular who has certainly been missed is Jack Flaherty. Jack only pitched eight innings in 2022 before a right shoulder strain landed him on the 60-day IL.
Flaherty has looked like a shell of the pitcher who went 9-2 with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.060 WHIP in 2021.
Any talk of finding Jack’s replacement has been overshadowed by the Cardinals’ pursuit of Nationals superstar Juan Soto. A trade for Soto would come with a heavy price tag and unfortunately that would all but guarantee their No.1 overall prospect Jordan Walker would be on the move.
The 6’5, 220 third baseman has been raking at the Cardinals Double A affiliate in Texas, currently slashing .305/.389/.531 on the year. With Platinum Glove winner Nolan Arenado still in the fold for St.Louis at the hot corner combined with what it will take to acquire Soto or a quality arm to replace Flaherty, either move will see Walker hit the show for another ball club.
Milwaukee Brewers – How Trading Josh Hader affects Devin Williams
Devin Williams has been elite for the Brewers all season and has slid into the closer role flawlessly on more than one occasion. But after the Brewers decided to move on from current closer and fan favorite Josh Hader, it looks as if Devin may be spending a lot more time dominating the ninth innings for Milwaukee.
The Hader deal was structured around San Diego’s No. 7 prospect Robert Gasser and No. 28 Esteury Ruiz, who may challenge to replace MLBbro Lorenzo Cain, designated for assignment earlier this season. With Willams in the fold there is no need for Brewers fans to panic about the ninth innings.
However, if the aforementioned Cardinals are able to make some big moves, it will take a lot more than great relief pitching to maintain their lead in the NL Central.
Washington Nationals – Where Does Josh Bell end up ?
Now the two teams above are clearly buyers battling for playoff position, but unfortunately for the nation’s capital, the Nationals are nothing close.
Juan Soto may be the first name you hear leaked to trade talks in D.C, but first baseman Josh Bell’s name usually isn’t far behind.
Bell is having a career year right before being able to test free agency for the first time and the Nationals
will look to gain something before he walks.
Josh is hitting .302 with 14 home runs and 57 RBI and has made pitchers pay for trying to sneak breaking balls past him (.319 BA and SLG .511).
It’s rumored that Dusty Baker’s Astros have made a call about Bell, so we could
potentially see another major weapon added to the machine down in Houston.
The St. Louis Cardinals have been without their starting pitcher Jack Flaherty all season. After having a successful 2021 season where he finished with a 9-2 record and 3.22 ERA, Flaherty was ready to play a significant role in leading the Cardinals to another postseason appearance.
Let’s not forget that he dealt with an oblique tear that forced him to miss some time last season and if that injury did not happen, he could have put himself in the NL Cy Young race.
Well, things didn’t go as planned for the 26-year-old going into the 2022 season.
Flaherty started the season on the injured list dealing with inflammation in his right shoulder and while there’s no confirmed timetable on a return, Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol believes he’ll be back soon.
In an mlb.com article, Marmol said that Flaherty is gearing towards a late May/early June return which is a positive sign.
The right hander recently had a bullpen session and he felt pretty good.
“Everything feels really good, and it’s been fun watching how the ball is coming out of my hand and how it feels coming out,” Flaherty said in an mlb.com article after his recent bullpen session this past week.
When Flaherty returns to the lineup, the Cardinals will have another weapon on their pitching staff, which comes as no surprise. He’s been the Opening Day starter the past few seasons and has been a spark for the team on the mound.
According to the article, Flaherty spent the last two seasons with a small tear and bursitis in his right shoulder.
The fact that our MLBbro was still going out there and competing at a high level speaks volumes to the competitor he is. But safety and health is very important and the Cardinals certainly don’t want anything serious to happen to their talented pitcher.
In March, Flaherty was put on a rehab plan and also went through a strengthening program to help out with the inflammation. One word that Flaherty has really dealt with over the last few years is patience.
“Last year, the oblique injury felt longer because there wasn’t necessarily a timetable, and I really couldn’t do anything to speed it up,” said Flaherty. “It wasn’t like I could do more rehab; I had to just give it more time to heal, which felt like forever. It wasn’t like I could put this on it or do this exercise because we had to let it heal first. And it was the first time I had injured [an oblique], so that just made it a lot different than this year.”
There’s no question that Flaherty is ready to get back on that bump and put his team in positions to win games.
“That’s why we love to play the game. To be on that mound, that’s what I love to do,” he said. “I like being in here supporting these guys and pulling for them, but I really want to be back out there. Everything is feeling good, and I’m confident.”
All eyes will be on Flaherty once he makes his season debut and he certainly will go out there and compete every pitch.
Don’t blame it on the alcohol, blame it on the bean balls.
Two MLB bros find themselves a little lighter in the pocket after wild pitching led to a bench and bullpen clearing brawl during the contentious series between the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets last week.
Cardinals’ pitcher Jack Flaherty and Mets pitcher Tijuan Walker were fined undisclosed amounts for their role in the melee that followed several hit batters. You can never knock a guy for taking up for his teammate, but both Walker and Flaherty are vital keys to their team’s success and coming off injuries. I don’t think their respective front offices want them out there mixing it up and risking reinjuring their golden arm. Their bread and butter.
Erratic pitching on both sides sent opposing players to first base with bruised bodies and egos Wednesday afternoon at Busch Stadium.
The Mets became frustrated during Tuesday night’s game after three players were hit by Cardinals pitchers. Things went far left on Wednesday afternoon in St. Louis thanks to wild Cardinals pitching and lingering tension from the incidents that occurred less than 24 hours earlier.
During their hump day matinee’ the Mets trailed the Cardinals 10-5 in the bottom of the 8th inning. Mets pitcher Yoan López, went high and tight with what was supposed to be a brush back pitch that almost made contact with Nolan Arenado’s helmet sending him to the dirt.
After a few choice words things escalated between first base and the mound and it got heated. Arenado was very demonstrative and had to be restrained.
Once they dropped gloves – MLB style – it was on from there. The bullpens and dugouts emptied onto the diamond in St. Louis. But in classic MLB fight card fashion, no real punches were thrown.
The Mets boast the best record in MLB as of Friday (14-6) and have been target practice at the plate for most of the young season. Understandably, the Mets were a little salty since their hitters had been drilled a league-high 18 times coming into the game. Pete Alonso even got beaned in the head on April 27th, which surely sparked all of subsequent bad blood.
They were hit several times in DC during their series with the Washington Nationals and apparently it was time to brush back. Lopez, a rookie, may have been answering the call after J.D. Davis was pelted earlier in the game prompting this retaliation code response.
“I don’t know if I would have thrown at his head but I would have hit him,” said former Mets pitcher and current TV analyst Ron Darling during the game broadcast.
We all know the Mets have a very old school manager in Buck Showalter, who understands the unwritten rules of the game as well as anybody.
This could make for a combative series when the Cardinals hit Queens for a four-game set starting May 16.
Statistics would tell you it has been a “down” year for Betts whose .266 batting average is his lowest since 2017. But those are the type of expectations burdened by superstars of his caliber. Betts ended his All-Star season with 23 home runs, 58 RBI and an .854 OPS. His Dodgers will take on the Cardinals in a Wild Card play-in game and should they win, they would meet their divisional rivals over in The Bay.
Betts batted .269 with an .898 OPS, two home runs, two doubles and five runs scored in last year’s World Series It was the second time Betts was able to earn some bling as he won with the Red Sox in 2018.
Even when Betts isn’t hitting at the top of his game, the game saving catches he provides defensively will be a major factor in October. The Cardinals are no joke, and neither are the 107-win Giants, so the Dodgers will need their stars to be stars and show up when needed most.
Jack Flaherty was on his way to joining the Black Ace club of 20 game winners before injuries put a stop to his 2021 season. It’s taken him some time to get back to form, but now the Cardinals plan on using him as a convertible piece in their bullpen.
Last Wednesday Flaherty made his first relief appearance since 2017.
Teams typically shorten their rotations in the postseason so it’s not surprising the Cardinals choose Flaherty for the role since he missed so much time with injury. The MLBbro hurler worked a clean inning on the last day of the season, striking out two Cubs batters. He had a 3.22 ERA to go along with 85 strikeouts on the season.
It is expected that the Cardinals would use Flaherty first out of the bullpen in the Wild Card game behind probable starter Adam Wainwright.
Lo Cain finds himself back in the playoffs for the first time since his magical World Series run with the Kansas City Royals in 2015. Cain won an ALCS MVP award after posting a .533 batting average, the highest batting average for a postseason series in Royals history.
Wade is one of many unsung heroes this season for a Giants team that shocked the baseball world by having the best record in the Majors this season. I cannot wait to see this MLBbro represent in the Bay Area, especially late in games when he seems to show up most.