Jack Flaherty is in his contract year but would be excited to re-sign with the Cardinals
It's hard to pin down exactly when it started, but there's this general belief among a lot of fans that Flaherty will leave St. Louis after the season and go pitch for a team in California. While the West Coast roots are there and he could choose to pursue that, there really have not been any indications from Flaherty that he is looking to leave. For someone who gets a perception as being "vocal" or "moody", he really has not made noise regarding his future.
When asked about the possibility of playing his whole career with the St. Louis Cardinals, Flaherty cited the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of his good friend Adam Wainwright and heroes like Kobe Bryant and Derek Jeter.
Outside of Wainwright, Flaherty is the longest-standing member of the Cardinals' rotation and may be the generational link between the Wainwright era and the next phase of Cardinals pitching. More and more stories have come out about how close Flaherty is to Wainwright, and the opportunity to take over as the leader of the Cardinals staff is there for the taking.
I'll cover this here in the near future, but at this moment, a Flaherty extension could end up being a bargain compared to what he may get on the open market this off-season. When he's been healthy, which his first three full big league seasons he was, he's been really good. Barring more injury issues, it's hard to imagine Flaherty not regaining his status as a number-one starter in this league, and yet, I think he'd sign for a bit of a lower price now to gain security, allowing the Cardinals to save a bit of money.
Some fans may scoff at Flaherty's comments and think he's saying things, but look at how other stars around the league are talking about their impending free agencies. Manny Machado is clearly ready to leave if needed and Corbin Burnes is openly frustrated with the Brewers. Flaherty could have easily said he wasn't sure about St. Louis, but instead, he chose to show long-term interest.
We'll see where things land with contract negotiations this Spring. There's no inclination yet that a deal is being worked on with Flaherty, but do not rule out the possibility.