Right-Hander, Jack Flaherty
Jack Flaherty represents the high-upside wild card of the group of potential targets. The young right-hander possesses ace potential but also comes with some risk after an injury-plagued 2023 season. He is set to become a free agent at an intriguing intersection of youth and experience. Flaherty has flashed brilliance, such as his dominant run in 2019, but has also struggled to stay healthy and put together a full standout season from start to finish.
This past year, he posted middling numbers with a 4.99 ERA, 8 wins, and 148 strikeouts over 144.1 innings pitched. However, his career body of work remains solid, highlighted by a 3.75 ERA, 42 wins, and 748 strikeouts over 667.2 innings. If he can regain form and finally piece together a fully healthy year, Flaherty's aggressive pitching style and elite strikeout ability make him a pitcher who could anchor the Pirates' rotation for the next decade. Taking a chance on his immense but still unrealized potential gives the Pirates an opportunity to land a middle-of-the-rotation type arm capable of leading the staff if things go right.
It would also make a lot of sense for familiarity reasons. Flaherty had a long career with the the St. Louis Cardinals, making him more that known to the Bucs. Often times, players like to return to divisions they are comfortable in. After getting a taste of the AL east he may look for a pathway back into the NL Central.