Cardinals: Jack Flaherty out until early August at the soonest

The St. Louis Cardinals will be without Jack Flaherty until early August at the soonest, enhancing their need for starting pitching.

We knew that Jack Flaherty would be out a while. But a source confirmed reports, including from Katie Woo of The Athletic, that Flaherty would be out until early August with a Grade 2 oblique strain — and it could be even longer as there is a “moving timetable.”

It’s a massive blow for the St. Louis Cardinals, with Flaherty establishing himself as a dominant starting pitcher who was making a strong case for the Cy Young award. Now, the team is almost forced to explore outside additions.

The only problem, however, is the arms the Cardinals will be looking for are not yet available. There are few teams who know that they will be sellers at this point of the season, with the Colorado Rockies and Baltimore Orioles being among them.

The Rockies are the most intriguing trade partner of the two. They have right-handers German Marquez and Jon Gray. Marquez, who is signed through 2023 at a team-friendly rate, will be expensive to acquire. Gray, meanwhile, was a candidate to be the first player traded, but is dealing with right forearm tightness, though MRIs showed no structural damage.

The most likely scenario is that the Cardinals will have to run with this current rotation for the time being. But without Flaherty, Kwang Hyun Kim and Miles Mikolas, and Carlos Martinez struggling, their two best starters are Adam Waimwright and John Gant.

The Cardinals could have gotten by without Mikolas and Kim. But the moment Flaherty went down, their rotation went to shambles, and they’ll need to get upgrades. The only problem is that may be impossible unless they overpay, something that president of baseball operations John Mozeliak will have no interest in doing.