There has been speculation that the Cardinals could extend Jack Flaherty, but those discussions have not yet occurred, according to a report.
With the St. Louis Cardinals still figuring out what their payroll will look like in 2021, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak will likely be careful about spending early this winter.
Their priority remains Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright. It is unlikely the Cardinals do anything until Molina’s situation is resolved. And one scenario that has been speculated, potentially extending starting pitcher Jack Flaherty, appears to be a longshot. The team has not spoken to Flaherty about an extension, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Flaherty, 25, is under contract through 2023 and the Cardinals do not have to rush to extend him, especially since he is still arbitration eligible and will not come close to making what an extension would pay him. While there is some logic to extending Flaherty now – the raging COVID-19 pandemic and expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, among other things – it does not appear that it is on their radar at this time.
The Cardinals’ decision not to explore a Flaherty extension is not indicative of the team’s feelings about their promising starter. While he struggled in 2020, putting up a 4.91 ERA and 49/16 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 40.1 innings, he is only a year removed from finishing fourth in the Cy Young Award Voting and 13th in the MVP race.
That is the pitcher the Cardinals believe they will have in future seasons. And while negotiations about a long-term deal have not occurred, past discussions surrounding his pre-arbitration contracts have not gone smoothly. He was the only one of 25 pre-arbitration players on the team’s roster who did not agree to terms on a contract for the 2020 season, with the Cardinals eventually renewing his contract for $604,500. Here is what Flaherty said at the time, via Goold:
“It’s just kind of the product of the system that we have,” Flaherty told reporters. “Can’t really do much. They’re going to play within what they’re allowed to do in the system. It’s not them. I can’t fault them for doing that. The system is what it is, and it’s not the best.”
We will see if that frustration carries over when negotiations begin. For now, however, the Cardinals appear content addressing other parts of their roster.