MLB Rumors: Cardinals dance partner, Mets star off limits, Ohtani asking price

STL Cardinals, Jordan Montgomery (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
STL Cardinals, Jordan Montgomery (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /
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MLB Rumors, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays
MIAMI, FLORIDA – JULY 6: Jack Flaherty #22 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Miami Marlins in the fourth inning at loanDepot park on July 6, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Sam Navarro/Getty Images) /

MLB Rumors: Rays emerge as top Cardinals trade partner for Montgomery, Flaherty

It might be the worst-kept secret in baseball that the struggling St. Louis Cardinals plan to sell off pieces at the MLB Trade Deadline. As of now, it seems as if their stars aren’t going anywhere with Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt staying put. Moreover, the most coveted trade chips appear to be starters Jordan Montgomery and Jack Flaherty, both of whom are on expiring contracts.

With a dire need for starting pitching for several contenders throughout baseball, the market for these players should be quite hectic. That will obviously help the Cardinals as the front office has actively stated that the goal is to get major-league-ready talent, pitching in particular, who can help St. Louis win in the 2024 season.

Taking that into account, a phenomenal trade partner has entered the chat for the Red Birds: the Tampa Bay Rays.

Still narrowly clinging to the AL East lead, the Rays have fallen off after a ridiculously hot start to the 2023 season and, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, they are looking to upgrade the pitching staff at the trade deadline. Nightengale also reports that the Rays have heavily scouted both Montgomery and Flaherty ahead of the trade deadline as well.

The Cardinals have to like the sound of that. The Rays came into the 2023 season with the fifth-ranked farm system in baseball according to Keith Law of The Athletic (subscription required) and, though that may have dropped with Taj Bradley now in the bigs, they still have plenty of prospects.

Should the Cardinals explore this trade with the Rays, Tampa could send St. Louis someone like Mason Montgomery or one of a number of enticing position players to replenish the depth there too. There is a lot to like in the Rays’ system, without question, and if they want to bolster the rotation to make a push, the moves are there to be made.