The Baltimore Orioles made a last-second trade with the Saint Louis Cardinals right as the trade deadline arrived to bolster their starting rotation. In the trade, the Orioles sent their 16th overall prospect infielder Cesar Prieto, their 18th overall prospect left-handed pitcher Drew Rom, and right-handed pitcher Zach Showalter to the Cardinals for right-handed starting pitcher Jack Flaherty.
With a 4.43 ERA so far this season, Flaherty will be a solid addition to this Orioles’ rotation. Seven wins and six losses, plus seven no-decisions, mark an average season for the righty, albeit with a Cardinals team that is struggling. Of the 116 hits that opposing batters have gotten against the Burbank-born pitcher, only ten hits have gone deep. The Orioles have gotten a starting-caliber pitcher who has a nearly 2-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and the Cardinals, who have realized that this is not going to be their year, have gotten several minor-league players who have hopes of one day making it to the majors.
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) August 1, 2023
Three Things Jack Flaherty Gives The Orioles
An ERA That Fits Right Into The Middle Of Their Rotation
The Orioles’ four main starting pitchers are Kyle Bradish, Tyler Wells, Kyle Gibson, and Dean Kremer. In the aforementioned order, their ERAs are 3.32, 3.80, 4.53, and 4.66. That allows Flaherty to slide into the middle of the rotation without the expectations of being an ace, but still being given proper support by fans and the team as someone who could deliver big performances.
All of the Orioles’ starting rotation has at least 20 starts, and the same applies to Flaherty. He has not been overworked by the Cardinals in the first half of the season, which allows him to take on the immediate role of pitching once every five or six days. Coach Brandon Hyde has gotten what fans have been hoping for in quality depth to what had been one of the team’s must-improve sections of the team.
An Activism And Attitude That The City Values
Flaherty, who is biracial, has involved himself heavily in the Black Lives Matter movement. In Baltimore, a city that is nearly two-thirds African-American, representation is imperative to driving ticket sales and building strong links to the community. And in Baltimore, building strong links to the community, which runs deep in Orioles’ history, is what makes the team so special to the city.
Despite the city’s demographics, should someone find themselves in Oriole Park at Camden Yards on any given gameday they would see that most of the fans that fill the seats are from outlying counties, not Baltimore County. The team’s seventh-inning stretch song is a John Denver classic, “Thank God I’m A Country Boy.” Why is that? Despite the team’s many efforts, they have not been able to connect to the city, especially with the rumors that the owners the Angelos brothers want to move the team to Nashville. Flaherty will be a key player in drawing local fans to the stadium and connecting the team to the activism and values they stand for.
A Winning Mindset
Any Orioles fan under the age of 30 cannot remember, with few exceptions, a winning Baltimore team. Part of the rebuild Hyde has been implementing is using farm system talent and drafting future stars to try and rid the team of their losing mindset. Only a couple of years ago, the Orioles finished dead last in the league. A couple of years later, they are leading the American League East, and have the best leader in the whole America League.
Flaherty was part of the USA team that went to Taiwan in 2013 that won a gold medal at the U18 Baseball World Cup. In high school, Flaherty was undefeated, and even as a member of this year’s Cardinals team, the hope of Saint Louis was that the team would make it into the playoffs. It has been thirty years since the Orioles last won the World Series, but Jack Flaherty could be a key piece in ending that drought.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) August 1, 2023
Jack Flaherty Trades Rags For Riches
The biggest winner in this trade might be Flaherty himself. Yes the Cardinals added depth to their farm system, and the Orioles added starting rotation depth, but the right-hander has gone from last place in the National League Central with no hopes of making the playoffs to 1st place in the American League. What he brings to this Orioles roster is one big step towards guaranteeing a spot in the playoffs, and challenging for the AL Pennant with no fear of who they come up against.
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