Cardinals pitchers Alex Reyes, Alex Wainwright and Jack Flaherty

(Jeff Curry-USA Today Sports & Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals GM Breaks Down Rotation Options, Talks Free Agent Market

Michael Girsch was live on Countdown To Opening Day with Hrabe and Claiborne

February 08, 2018 - 12:34 pm

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - St. Louis Cardinals general manager Michael Girsch says he'll make his way to Jupiter, Fla. for spring training this weekend. Then he, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak, manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Mike Maddux will have until the end of March to determine who follows Carlos Martinez in the starting rotation.

Related story: Cardinals Gear Leaving The Cold Behind, Headed For Spring Training

Girsch was live on KMOX, Wednesday night, for the Cardinals "Countdown To Opening Day" show with Chris Hrabe and Mike Claiborne. You can listen to the full show, commercial free, below:

Here's what Girsch had to say about each of the Cardinals starting options, in no particular order: 

Martinez: "One of the best pitchers in the national league, with a chance to be one of the best pitchers in baseball."

Michael Wacha: "He's shown that he can stay healthy and be effective and he's been very effective at times ... He's in a spot where he understands his body and is in a good position to stay healthy and perform again." 

Luke Weaver: "He's shown that he can be a very effective big-league pitcher. He did it a little bit in 2016 in a short opporutinty there and he did it again last year. And there's really no reason to think he can't step into the middle of the order and succeed."

Miles Mikolas: "I think if we had signed an Asian-born player who had pitched as well as he had in Japan for the last three years, I think the excitment and the attitude towards him would be very different ... He pitched as well, in Japan, as anyone has over there the last three years. His strike out rate was great, he imporved his command ... and guys who have pitched really well in Japan have come over here and pitched really well in the states."

With one spot left in the rotation, Girsch mentioned Adam Wainwright, Alex Reyes and Jack Flaherty as potential competitors. Mozeliak told us last month, Reyes will likely start the 2018 season in Flordia for one final month of rehab (Tommy John surgery in February, 2017) and Wainwright will fight to prove his worth in baseball – in the final year of his contract with the Cardinals

Girsch had more high praise for Flaherty, 22, who struck out 20 in 21.1 innings with St. Louis in 2018.

"He sort of ticked up (in 2017) in every possible way," Girsch says. "In terms of velocity, in terms of his command, in terms of his breaking pitch, in terms of him sort of having a plan on the mound and becoming a pitcher and not a thrower. So intead of starting his junior year in college, he was kind of dominating double-A, and then pitching really well at triple-A and getting his first taste of the big leagues. I think you can't hope for much more than that from a high school draft pick."