Blue Jays: Potential pitching depth targets ahead of the trade deadline

Jun 6, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Liam Hendriks (31) follows
Jun 6, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Liam Hendriks (31) follows / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
4 of 8

Starters Jack Flaherty & Jordan Montgomery and relievers Chris Stratton & Jordan Hicks of the St. Louis Cardinals

GM Ross Atkins might have a chance to correct his error in not trading Josh Donaldson for Cardinals then top pitching prospect Jack Flaherty ahead of the 2018 season. Flaherty will be a free agent for the first time after 2023, and given St. Louis is 7.5 games back in the NL wild card with a 27-40 record, they may be sellers ahead of the trade deadline. He’s delivered a bWAR of 1.2 and just above league average ERA+ of 103 so far this year on the back of a 4.42 ERA over 13 starts and 69.1 innings with 72 Ks, and looks to have finally put recent injury woes behind him. He’s making $5.4 million.

Should the Cardinals decide to sell at the trade deadline, they also have other pitchers who should interest the Blue Jays. Let’s assume they wont trade the retiring Adam Wainwright, who’s played his entire 18 year career with St. Louis, but lefty Jordan Montgomery certainly knows the AL East after pitching across six seasons for the NY Yankees, and has a 1.1 bWAR and ERA+ of 110 this year, with a 3.88 ERA across 13 starts and 72.0 innings, with 66 Ks against only 19 walks. He’ll also be a free agent for the first time and is making $10 million.

The Cardinals could also move relievers like Chris Stratton and Jordan Hicks, both who will be unrestricted free agents after this season. Hicks turns 27 this September, and throws a sinker that averages 100.7 mph and a fastball at 101.1 mph according to Statcast. That’s helped him strike out 42 batters in only 26.2 innings, which is exactly the kind of ‘swing and miss’ stuff the Jays will need in the playoffs. Stratton is in his final year of arbitration, and has a 3.79 ERA over 35.2 innings with 39 Ks.