Jack Flaherty may be worth the gamble for Padres

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RHP Jack Flaherty could be of interest to the San Diego Padres this winter. 

The San Diego Padres will need pitching for the 2024 season.

There are several questions about the Padres’ rotation heading into the winter. Their best two pitchers in the rotation are coming off injury (Yu Darvish & Joe Musgrove). The rest of the rotation is made up of pending free agents (Blake Snell, Michael Wacha, and Seth Lugo). Lugo and Wacha have options, but neither is a lock to return. Wacha is likely, Lugo will almost certainly test the free-agent waters.

There are some young pitchers who could step up, but none come with a certainty, and the majority of the best pitching prospects in the system are a year or two away from contributing.

The Padres will need veteran arms to compete in 2024. That is for certain.

A pitcher to consider while looking for pitchers to break out in 2024 is former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty.

The right-handed pitcher is coming off a rough year in 2023, where he produced a 4.99 ERA in 29 games and 27 starts with the Cardinals and the Orioles. He flashed signs of being his old self but really regressed in Baltimore. He was not allowed to start in the team’s series with Texas but threw two innings of relief, allowing one earned run.

In 2019, Flaherty finished fourth in N.L. Cy Young voting, recording an 11-8 record with a 2.75 ERA in 33 starts and 196.1 innings pitched. He struck out 231 batters that season and looked to be on the verge of becoming one of the best young pitchers in the league.

However, that did not happen.

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A series of injuries sidelined Flaherty for most of the following three seasons, as he only made 32 starts in that time, producing an ERA north of four.

Over the last several seasons, his walk rate has shot up and that is undoubtedly hurting his overall value. Ruben Niebla could possibly work wonders for Flaherty, who is still only 28 years old. The best years for this pitcher could be ahead of him. The Padres could capitalize on his diminished value and reap the rewards of a motivated Flaherty.

The cost for Jack Flaherty wouldn’t be costly.

He may want a one-year deal to prove his value. That way, he can become a free agent once again before the age of 30.

That kind of deal generally works out well for the franchise, as a player is highly motivated to perform to the best of his abilities.  Flaherty has all the potential in the world. After the 2019 season, he looked destined to be a star. The Padres will need to gamble on some pitchers this winter, and Flaherty could be a safe bet.

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