4 pitching trade targets for the Rays, including 1 big stretch goal

The Rays will call about this big name player

Jul 6, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty (22) throws the
Jul 6, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty (22) throws the / Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports
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The Tampa Bay Rays have a major opportunity this trade deadline to improve what might already be the best team in franchise history. While statistically, the Rays have a top team in terms of run prevention, injuries to starters such as Jeffrey Springs and Drew Rasmussen have created holes in the pitching staff. With many great talents being available to teams that need help getting over the hump, the Rays should be calling as many potential sellers as possible. 

Compiled here are four players who could find themselves pitching in home games at Tropicana Field come August 2.

Rays pitching trade target: Jack Flaherty (Cardinals)

With all the expectations surrounding them following a division-winning season, it is somewhat surprising the Cardinals have found themselves possibly in the sellers camp. With the Rays looking to add a starting arm that can give them some good innings, reports have surfaced of them extensively scouting Jack Flaherty and his teammate Jordan Montgomery. While Montgomery is a great pitcher in his own right, Flaherty seems much more like a buy-low Rays project.

Due to multiple injuries, Flaherty has struggled somewhat to find his groove in the past few seasons. His command in particular the last couple of campaigns has been off, as per Fangraphs, he had a 13.2% walk rate in his very limited 2022 season. This year it has crept down a little, but his free pass rate still sits at 11.1%. 

While some concerns can be had with Flaherty’s spotty location, the Rays have a history of trading for high walk rate arms, with the hopes their coaching staff can help these players locate their pitches better. One relatively recent example of this is ace Tyler Glasnow, whose walk rate dropped five percentage points since joining the Rays.

Jack Flaherty is a pitcher who might be looking to revitalize his career and become a top-line starter again, and the Rays may just be the team that could help him do that.