Get ready St. Louis Cardinals fans. We've all been eager for the last few months to see what trades the team will make at the trade deadline, and the trade partners are finally beginning to emerge.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Tampa Bay Rays have "extensively scouted" both Jordan Montgomery and Jack Flaherty, as they are looking to bolster their rotation as they push for a deep run in October this year.
Both Flaherty and Montgomery have been identified as major trade candidates at this deadline, and with a growing number of teams interested in them, the Cardinals could be looking at a significant haul for their starting pitchers.
Why the Rays would be interesting trade partners for the Cardinals
Fans may have a bit of PTSD when it comes to making deals with the Rays after the Randy Arozarena-Matthew Liberatore deal from a few years ago. The Rays are known for their ability to develop young talent, but they seem to be equally good at trading away the players that will not end up panning out how you'd want them to.
This doesn't make the Rays a bad trade partner, it just means the Cardinals have to be wise in who they look to acquire from Tampa Bay. No team "tries" to give up the wrong guys in deals.
The Rays' farm system is deep (as it always seems to be) and has a variety of MLB-ready or lower-level prospects who could be dealt from. On the pitching front, a name like left-hander Mason Montgomery or right-hander Cole Wilcox could interest St. Louis.
A higher-risk name could be that of Shane Baz, who's been excellent throughout his minor league and brief MLB career when healthy but has battled multiple significant injuries in recent years.
The Rays also have a lot of position player talent in their farm system that is on the rise, but I think we can all agree the Cardinals are likely to be targeting pitching support.
Keep an eye on the Rays over the coming weeks, as it looks like there is a lot of interest from them regarding the Cardinals' pitching talent.