Prior to Friday's trade deadline, the St. Louis Cardinals reportedly acquired a pair of veteran lefty starters -- J.A. Happ in a swap with the Minnesota Twins and Jon Lester in a deal with the Washington Nationals (source: Jesse Rogers). The Cardinals have announced the Happ trade.
Both pitchers are in their walk years, and neither Happ, age 38, nor Lester, age 37, has been effective this season:
To get Happ, the Cardinals parted with minor league left-hander Evan Sisk and reliever -- and starter for early months of 2021 -- John Gant. Gant, who soon turns 29, has this season pitched to a 3.42 ERA and 1.00 K/BB ratio in 14 starts and 11 relief appearances. Thanks to struggles at the command-and-control level, his numbers have been trending worse for some time. Gant isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2022 season. The Cardinals are also receiving cash from the Twins in the deal.
In the Lester trade, Jesse Dougherty reports that the Cardinals have given up outfielder Lane Thomas. Thomas, who turns 26 in late August, can play all three outfield positions and has a slash line of .172/.289/.336 in 142 plate appearances spread across three MLB seasons. He's under team control at least through the 2025 season.
Given that the Cardinals have four starting pitchers sidelined with injury -- ace Jack Flaherty and right-handers Miles Mikolas, Carlos Martinez, Dakota Hudson -- rotation depth is a concern. Flaherty should return reasonably soon, but Hudson will miss the entire season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Still, Happ and Lester hardly seem to promise quality innings, as both pitchers are well into their decline phases.
The Cardinals enter play Friday with a record of 51-51. They're 7 1/2 games out of the second wild card spot in the NL, and in the NL Central they trail the first-place Brewers by 9 1/2 games.