Rays send the Cardinals 2024 rotation help
Cardinals receive: LHP Jeffrey Springs
Rays receive: RHP Jack Flaherty
(Note: This may require Jordan Montgomery, but if so, I think the Cardinals would get a prospect added in as well)
I heard the concept of this kind of deal on "The Big Show" hosted by Brenden Schaeffer and Andy Humphrey, and I loved the concept of it.
Jeffrey Springs joined the Rays rotation last year and posted a 2.46 ERA in 25 starts and 8 relief appearances. He came out on fire in his first 3 starts of 2023, posting a 0.56 ERA in 16 innings of work, before having to have season-ending Tommy John surgery.
So why on earth would the Cardinals want to acquire him?
Well, this may be one of the unique opportunities to acquire a cost-controlled difference maker for their rotation while only using their expiring assets to do so. Spring is expected back by the middle of 2024 and makes just $5.2 million next year. His salary jumps up to $10.5 million in 2025 and 2026, and there is a $15 million club option for 2027. The Rays are trying to win a World Series this year, and have money wrapped up into a guy who will not pitch until next summer.
Why not parlay him into one of the better starters in this year's market?
There is risk involved with grabbing a pitcher that has just undergone significant surgery, which is why I think it would not take more than a rental arm to pull it off if the Rays are interested. Tampa Bay has been scouting both Flaherty and Montgomery, which is why I really could see this happening.
Montgomery or Flaherty could be flipped for low-ceiling, almost MLB-ready arms or high ceiling, but very far away from MLB-ready players, but this could be a way to turn one of them into a high-upside, MLB-proven pitcher with lots of team control.