6 trade deadline ideas for the St. Louis Cardinals

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Jack Flaherty to the Texas Rangers for Jack Leiter

Jack Flaherty's exceptional performance on June 7 against the Texas Rangers likely won’t go unnoticed by a squad that just lost Jacob deGrom to Tommy John surgery. While Texas' rotation is still very good, Flaherty would give the Rangers another quality arm as they look to extend their lead in the American League West. 

Walks have bitten Flaherty this year; he currently leads the National League in that statistic. But in his past six starts, he has a 2.06 ERA in 35 innings. With his contract up at the end of the season, Flaherty is a strong candidate for the Cardinals to flip, and his value could be on the upswing. 

Jack Leiter is the 76th-ranked prospect on MLB.com. The second overall pick in 2021, he was roughed up a bit last season in Double-A but has found much more success upon repeating the level this season. Leiter has an elite fastball and a good slider, although, like Flaherty, he has had issues with walks. But with a 3.88 ERA so far this season, 69 strikeouts in 51 innings, and an opponent average of .206, Leiter seems to have turned a corner and would be the Cardinals' second-highest-ranked pitching prospect after Tink Hence.

I would love this trade for the Cardinals, but I'm not sure the Rangers would want to pull the trigger on trading Leiter for a pitcher who has only been elite for half of a season in 2019. Given Texas' other four strong rotation pieces, the fact that playoff rotations only warrant four starters and the relative unimportance of needing a full five studs in the rotation, Flaherty might not be enough to satisfy the Rangers.