Former top prospect in the Tampa Bay Rays organization Brent Honeywell was designated for assignment on Wednesday by the San Diego Padres after a lackluster start to his attempted reboot of his career.
With the St. Louis Cardinals all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs this season, it is a no-brainer for the Cardinals to either claim Honeywell off of waivers or wait until he clears and execute a rare August trade for the right-handed starting pitcher.
St. Louis failed to add a major-league-ready arm to their rotation at the trade deadline after prices for rentals proved to be significantly less than what was anticipated by many front offices who entered sell mode in the last month.
The ability to grab a high-upside project like Honeywell should be the kind of player who should fill out the rotation for the rest of the season before the heavy lifting is done to the rotation in the winter.
Honeywell was a former second-round pick of the Rays back in 2014, and injuries have slowed what could have been a dominating force out of the Tampa rotation. Instead, he has split time over the last three seasons between the injured list, the Oakland Athletics, and the Padres organization.
After missing almost two full seasons after making his major league debut in 2021 with the Rays, Honeywell landed in San Diego in 2023 where he made 36 appearances out of the bullpen for the Padres. He has thrown 46.2 innings with 42 strikeouts and sports a 4.05 ERA.
Honeywell had a fast rise through the Rays' minor league system, reaching AAA Durham in 2017, making 26 starts. He threw 136.2 innings for the Bulls in the minors, striking out 172 batters, and finished with a 3.82 ERA.
The upside is there for any team that wants to have swing-and-miss stuff in their bullpen, but the Cardinals have a unique opportunity to add someone who they can be patient with for the remainder of the year.
St. Louis could easily insert Honeywell into the bullpen and begin stretching him out to become a starter either late in the 2023 season or heading into the 2024 offseason if they want to resign the pending free agent.
Going into the following season, the Cardinals have an abundance of fifth starters who offer little upside. Adding Honeywell into this group would elevate the potential of the rotation or add another dynamic arm into a bullpen that has recently lost Genesis Cabrera, Jordan Hicks, and Chris Stratton.