The Rockies will be glad they didn't pay Jack Flaherty $14 million
Once upon a time, Jack Flaherty was a really good pitcher and looked to become the next great Cardinals ace. At the age of 23, he finished fourth in the NL Cy Young Voting, putting up a 5.8 bWAR. Over the next three years, he dealt with a number of injuries, combining to throw just 154 innings over that time.
In his final year of arbitration, he was able to bounce back a little bit. He was able to work up to 144 innings over 27 starts, which is impressive considering the injury history. He was pretty solid in the first half of the season with the Cardinals, with a 4.43 ERA over 20 starts, but things unraveled after he was traded to the Orioles. Over seven starts and nine appearances, he threw just 34 innings with a 6.75 ERA. At this point in his career, Flaherty is probably nothing more than a No. 4 or No. 5 starter with mid-rotation upside. He is still only 28 years old, but for a starter with a significant injury history and recent struggles, a $14 million contract is a pretty rich deal (and Coors Field is a hellish place for anyone to "figure it out").
It only takes a brief search to find a few comps from this offseason to show you that $14 million for Flaherty is a massive overpay -- and one that the Rockies should be glad they avoided. The first comparison is Martin Pérez, who signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $8 million deal. Since Pérez became a full-time starter in 2016, he has averaged 155 innings per year and has about the same floor as Flaherty.
The second comparison is Kyle Gibson, who signed a one-year deal worth $12 million with the Cardinals. Gibson has been a solid back of the rotation starter and has consistently been an innings-eater. Over his 11-year career, he has averaged 155 innings per year. He has a career 4.54 ERA, but his value comes from the dependability he possesses. Gibson for $12 million is a lot better deal than Flaherty for $14 million. For the kind of money Flaherty got, the Rockies would be better off taking a chance on another arm, perhaps one with fewer injury concerns.