The rumors were swirling all day about which pitcher the Orioles would land on. Would they get Justin Verlander? Would it be Dylan Cease? Eduardo Rodriguez? None of the above, it was Jack Flaherty. St. Louis sent their former Cy Young top 5 finisher to the Orioles at the 11th hour on Tuesday for 3 mid-teen prospects from the Orioles. INF Cesar Prieto, P Drew Rom, and P Zack Showalter. Prieto is a hitting machine but was never going to play in Baltimore due to being blocked by so many other fantastic prospects and MLB guys. Rom was a hell of a pitcher who got called up in early May but never debuted, had a tough go lately but will be good. And Zack Showalter was an 11th round pick last year who is still a ways away.
It wasn't the massive splash we all thought we would get, Scherzer or Cease, but it immediately makes their rotation better. Their offense is capable of winning a World Series, while their pitching staff was not. Flaherty helps in every aspect of the game, a guy who has had major success in the past, finishing 4th in the Cy Young in 2019, has started playoff games, pitched in huge spots late in the season, and is a veteran who has won. He upgrades this rotation the second he steps foot here. He's struggled with oblique and shoulder injuries the last few seasons but he's healthy now and has pitched better than his numbers show. The Cardinals are dog water this year and that has hurt Flaherty. He is a free agent at the end of the year hence the light return package, but the Orioles will cross that bridge when they get there. Flaherty is in Baltimore to help them win this division and get into October. He'll start playoff games for them, he'll be a front end rotation guy and a leader, what more could you want?
Now again, people were upset because we wanted a bigger fish. We flirted with Verlander and Cease it appears yesterday, but couldn't bring her home from the bar. GM Mike Elias said they took some big swings and missed. He wasn't going to give up Jackson Holliday for Dylan Cease and Justin Verlander was never going to waive his no-trade clause to come here if he had the choice between Baltimore and Houston. He could pick where he was going and once Houston appeared it was a done deal. Basically the realistic guys the Orioles could get were Jordan Montgomery who got traded a few days ago, Michael Lorenzen who is a 31 year-old with an innings limit coming up, and Flaherty. I think it's a very solid move that helps the club. I'm very intrigued by his stuff and what the Orioles staff can do because I think this kid can be an animal when he's on. Again, he's had success in the past and you can't overstate how important that is coming to this young, winning club.
Now we see if they have enough to get through October.