Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays have achieved their AL-best record despite receiving multiple blows to their starting rotation. Jeffrey Springs had Tommy John surgery in April, Shane McClanahan hit the injured list in late June, and the team recently announced Drew Rasmussen will have internal brace surgery, a slightly less invasive procedure that TJS with a shorter rehab time that nevertheless will cause him to miss the rest of the 2023 campaign.
While Tampa Bay's development team seemingly is capable of cranking out major leaguers whenever needed, it's certainly possible they'll look for external additions to bolster their staff. Enter Flaherty, who could bump Taj Bradley and his 5.43 ERA either to the bullpen or back to the minors once McClanahan is back from his IL stint. It's a move that almost seems too easy, too tidy a solution.
What about the Cardinals' return in such a move? If St. Louis threw in Matthew Liberatore, maybe they could get Randy Arozarena back! Too soon? Barring Liberatore somehow evolving into a top-of-the-rotation arm, that trade is always going to hurt.
Setting that dream aside, as stated earlier, the Rays have a penchant for developing major league talent, which the Cardinals also seem capable of, only limited to the hitting side of the equation. Again, that's why St. Louis should be looking for nearly-ready pitching in any Flaherty deal.
The aforementioned Bradley could be a good candidate to target, though Tampa Bay most likely sees him as a strong candidate for the 2024 rotation and too much to give up for a couple of months of Flaherty. Mason Montgomery is having a solid season with the Rays' Double-A team based in the city with which he shares his last name. Colby White is working his way back from an April 2022 Tommy John procedure, though he looked so good prior to surgery that Tampa Bay may value him too much to trade him for a two-month rental.
There's also the option for the Cardinals to pull in some young position players, freeing them up to use them or some of their major league batting talent in other deals to acquire the pitching they're after. The Rays' development pipeline typically is filled with up-and-coming youngsters, so a Flaherty deal to Tampa Bay could work out a variety of different ways to help St. Louis set up better for the future.