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Cardinals Deliver on Seller Status: Jordan Montgomery, Jack Flaherty, Jordan Hicks, and Paul Dejong All Traded

Earlier in the month of July, St. Louis Cardinals president John Mozeliak was the first executive in baseball to publicly declare his club as a seller approaching the August 1st MLB trade deadline. Suffice it to say, he wasn't kidding.

The Cardinals were perhaps the most active club prior to Tuesday's deadline, shipping out pitchers Jordan Montgomery, Jack Flaherty, and Jordan Hicks while also dealing veteran shortstop Paul DeJong, all in separate deals. It was an unusual circumstance for a franchise that annually competes for a division crown within the NL Central but the 47-61 Cardinals managed to obtain value on their impending free agents.

Of course, there are fantasy baseball implications to be had here. Let's dive into how these swaps affect the fantasy value of the players involved.

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Montgomery's Value on the Rise

It's not very often you see a pitcher tossing a healthy 3.42 ERA and sitting three games below .500 but Montgomery is one of them. It's interesting that he is just 6-9 on the season as the Cardinals' offense has been the least of their worries but a 24th-ranked bullpen has been his biggest nemesis in racking up wins.

Now, the Rangers' bullpen has actually been worse as they sit 27th with a 4.79 ERA on the season but Montgomery is now backed by a Rangers offense that sits second in baseball with a .344 wOBA on the campaign. The Cardinals' seventh-ranked .329 wOBA is certainly nothing to sneeze at but Montgomery now has the support of the best offense in the American League.

The left-hander's value will always be capped by a general lack of strikeouts as per his career 22.5% K% but if you're in need of some wins and run-prevention stability, Montgomery should be able to help out in those departments down the stretch.


Can Flaherty Bounce Back in Baltimore?

Injuries have robbed us of prime Jack Flaherty, at least for the time being.

At just 23 years of age, the right-hander worked to a stealth 2.75 ERA and a 29.9% K% while taking the ball 33 times for the 2019 Cardinals. Fast forward four years later and the 27-year-old owns a 4.43 ERA and a 21.9% K% in 20 starts this season. Making matters worse is the fact his control has taken a serious hit as his 11.1% BB% this season is well above his 9.2% career mark and miles above his 7.1% clip from that tidy 2019 campaign.

Where this goes is anyone's guess. Flaherty hasn't provided fantasy managers with any value for some time considering he has made just 32 starts over the last three seasons. He has regained his health in this 2023 campaign but he has done little to put himself back onto the fantasy radar.

He'll have to start limiting the walks and miss more bats before he becomes a fantasy asset once again.


Hicks, DeJong Hold Temporary Value

Jordan Hicks and Paul DeJong remain teammates at the end of the day as both were acquired by the Toronto Blue Jays this trading season. Interestingly, both are injury replacements for a couple of important pieces on the Blue Jays roster.

Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano is on the 15-day injured list due to a back injury while shortstop Bo Bichette hit the injured list on Wednesday after injuring his knee rounding first base on Monday. As a result, both Hicks and DeJong become important pieces in a hurry for a Blue Jays club that ensured they had options moving forward at both positions.

While DeJong has bounced back to a point where his bat is about league average, it's Hicks' fantasy value that takes the biggest spill between the two. He had emerged as the Cardinals' closer and put forth a 2.16 ERA in the month of July and had racked up eight saves on the season. While he should be in line for some save opportunities in his Blue Jays' tenure, Romano's absence isn't expected to be long.

He should rack up a solid amount of holds, but his days as an everyday closer are done for the year.

As for DeJong, he provides some short-term pop and speed. The 30-year-old has 13 homers and four steals on the season while his 96 wRC+ sits just 4% below the league average, much better than the 55 wRC+ he posted in 77 games last season.

However, he will be a backup across the infield upon Bichette's return, which won't be long considering his knee is not structurally damaged. The Jays are likely more interested in the veteran's glove than they are in his bat.

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