Rays and Cardinals pull off big MLB trade
The MLB trade market has been mostly dormant in recent months. But the Tampa Bay Rays and Cardinals decided to shake things up on Thursday, agreeing to a four-player deal that also included multiple compensation picks.
Tampa Bay is sending highly-touted pitcher Matthew Liberatore and a low-level catching prospect to St. Louis in exchange for a pair of heavy-hitting outfielders in Jose Martinez and Randy Arozarena:
The St. Louis Cardinals are trading OF Jose Martinez, OF Randy Arozarena and a Compensation A pick (after 1st round) to the Tampa Bay Rays for LHP prospect Matt Liberatore, a low-level catching prospect and Compensation B pick (post-2nd), sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 10, 2020
Liberatore was the No. 16 overall pick in the 2018 MLB June Amateur Draft. He posted a 3.10 ERA across 78 1/3 innings of work for Tampa Bay’s Single-A affiliate this past season. He was also ranked No. 41 on MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospects list.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals elected to move a few pieces in their crowded outfield. Martinez posted very strong numbers in 2017 and 2018. Despite an inconsistent 2019 that saw him fall in and out of the lineup, he still gives Tampa Bay a very capable run-producer from the right side of the plate.
Arozarena might be the centerpiece for Tampa Bay. The 24-year-old dominated in the minor leagues last season before earning some at-bats at the big-league level. Arozarena slashed .300/.391/.500 in just 23 plate appearances, but he projects as a guy with a plus hit tool and decent speed.
This is a move that should benefit both MLB teams in the long run. The Rays needed assets in the outfield, and both Martinez and Arozarena could help Tampa Bay win now.
The Cardinals desperately needed more arm talent in their farm. St. Louis still have a number of capable outfielders–such as Tommy Edman, Dexter Fowler, Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader–and they could make a run at re-signing Marcell Ozuna.