Orioles trade for Jack Flaherty from St. Louis Cardinals

The Orioles bolstered their rotation with a Cardinals pitcher

Jul 26, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA;  St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty (22) throws a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks
Jul 26, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty (22) throws a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks / Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

With the trade deadline clock ticking down, the Baltimore Orioles got in a move to shore up their pitching staff a few minutes before the 6:00 PM eastern time deadline. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was first with the news that the Orioles were acquiring Jack Flaherty from the St. Louis Cardinals.

Going back to the Cardinals are two top 30 prospects. Infielder César Prieto and lefty pitcher Drew Rom are the pieces going to the Midwest. Prieto was ranked as the 16th best prospect in the O's farm system, while Rom was ranked 18th. 19-year-old pitcher Zack Showalter is also going to the Cardinals.

Flaherty trade

Baltimore Orioles acquire Jack Flaherty from St. Louis Cardinals

Flaherty has a $5.4 million salary this year, with the Orioles paying the prorated amount for the rest of the year. He's set to hit free agency at the end of the year, so this is a rental. There was a hole in the rotation after Tyler Wells was optioned to Double A Bowie, and Flaherty will certainly fill that. His last start was on July 26, putting him on extended rest to start Thursday's series finale against Toronto, with no starter for the Orioles announced yet.

So far this season, Flaherty has a 4.43 ERA, 4.22 FIP, and 1.550 WHIP in 109 2/3 innings and 20 starts for the Cardinals. In five starts in July, Flaherty pitched to a 3.30 ERA. He's walking a lot of hitters, averaging 4.4 walks per nine. He's averaging 0.8 home runs per nine and 8.7 strikeouts per nine, both solid totals.

One thing Flaherty limits is hard contact. He ranks in the 77th percentile in average exit velocity, 76th percentile in barrel percentage, and 71st percentile in hard hit percentage. He also ranks in the 84th percentile in extension.

Flaherty has seven years in the majors under his belt. He has amassed a 3.58 ERA, 3.97 FIP, and 1.185 WHIP, averaging 3.4 walks per nine and exactly 10 strikeouts per nine over 118 starts, four relief appearances, and 633 innings.

Prieto, going to the Cardinals, was having a great season in the minors but was blocked by the likes of Jordan Westburg, Gunnar Henderson, Joey Ortiz, Connor Norby, and Coby Mayo for major league call-ups.

Between Bowie and Norfolk, Prieto has a .349/.393/.475 slash line, hitting six home runs with 49 RBIs, 20 doubles, and seven stolen bases in 85 games, 58 of which came with Bowie.

Rom was briefly called up as a long relief option but never made his MLB debut. With the Cardinals trading a lot of pitchers, he'll likely get his shot there. With Norfolk this season, Rom has a 5.34 ERA and 1.698 WHIP, averaging 4.8 walks per nine and 10.5 strikeouts per nine in 19 games, all but one of them being starts.

Showalter, the final piece of the package, was chosen by the Orioles in the 11th round of the 2022 draft out of high school. He didn't pitch professionally in 2022, making this year his first pro season. He is not in any Orioles prospect rankings.

Even this season, Showalter has only appeared in nine games, eight of them being starts. Between the FCL and Low-A Delmarva, Showalter has a 2.37 ERA and 1.319 WHIP, averaging 12.2 strikeouts per nine and 4.2 walks per nine in 30 1/3 innings.

A trade to get a starting pitcher was a necessity for the Orioles, to both fill a rotation spot, help a struggling rotation, and gear up for a bigger playoff push at the top of the AL East. No other moves were made, so this is the roster. Now, the season gets interesting.