Change #3 - Evaluate Jack Flaherty and Jordan Montgomery, prepare to shop one of them at the deadline
Before you freak out, if the Cardinals are going to acquire a front-line starter, they need a rotation spot to clear up, right?
They aren't taking Adam Wainwright out of the rotation. We all know that. Miles Mikolas certainly shouldn't be removed with his recent play and his freshly signed extension. Matthew Liberatore presents a cost-controlled rotation for the present and the future. That's three of the four spots taken, and that's not even including the new ace we'd all like them to acquire.
With Flaherty and Montgomery set to be free agents at the end of the year, the likelihood is that one or both of those guys are gone after this season. The Cardinals can do the following things if they shopped one of them at this year's deadline.
- Clear up a rotation spot for a front-line starter
- Recuperate assets after having to dip into them for the ace trade
- Give more chances to young arms
Again, this is assuming the Cardinals want to go after an ace. If they do, their playoff rotation would likely look something like their newly acquired ace, Mikolas, one of Flaherty or Montgomery, and then either Liberatore of Wainwright. That's a pretty good-looking group, especially with the offense they have.
While neither arm would get the team a fortune in a trade, they both would surely be hot commodities unless they completely fall apart in the next month or so. Look around the league at almost every contending team. They all need pitching. Not every team can go out and trade for an ace though, so many contenders will be looking to acquire arms with high upside that they can at least slot into the back of their rotation. Montgomery and Flaherty would qualify as those.
Get some assets back in return to help replenish the farm system after trading for an ace, and if injuries happen down the stretch, you still have arms like Matz, Gordon Graceffo, Zack Thompson, and Michael McGreevy on deck to fill in.