Step 4: Sign SP Jack Flaherty (1yr/$10mil)
In 2019, Jack Flaherty was 23, had just finished a top 5 voting Cy Young season, and carried the St. Louis Cardinals to the NLCS. He was arguably the best rising arm in baseball. Since then, 3 straight seasons with injuries have destroyed his trajectory towards greatness.
Finally healthy in 2023, Flaherty looked more like a #4 or #5 starter than the former ace he was. In 29 starts, Flaherty posted a 4.99 ERA and a 98 ERA+ in St. Louis before a deadline trade to Baltimore went catastrophic and tanked his season. So, if things have been so dark since 2019, why would I want Seattle to sign him?
That answer is three-fold for me. First, I believe he is healthy now. As we've seen from almost every pitcher coming off of shoulder injuries, it takes time to heal and rebuild the strength and ability that was once there. Second, he'd be leaving St. Louis. No disrespect to the Cardinals or anyone on their medical team, but sometimes you just have to get away from a place with so many negative experiences. Getting traded to Baltimore, and being forced to pitch playoff caliber games in that tiny ballpark was a recipe for disaster. And finally, Flaherty can escape back to the West Coast where he's from, and be reborn in the Seattle Mariners pitching philosophy.
If anyone can fix Flaherty, I believe it's the Seattle Mariners. With the trading away of Bryce Miller, the Mariners will need a starter to come in and eat innings until Robbie Ray or Marco Gonzalez is healthy. It's a perfect marriage for both sides, as Flaherty will look to rebuild his value.