Pitchers and catchers report in a little over a month and the Rays are continuing to add pieces to their puzzle.
When ESPN MLB Insider Jeff Passan broke the news last night that the St. Louis Cardinals have acquired Matthew Liberatore from the Tampa Bay Rays, I was constantly refreshing my twitter feed waiting to see what the Rays got back.
And I kept refreshing.
Who are they going to get back? The young power righty, Tyler O’Neil? The former Stanford Cardinal, Tommy Edman? Who are the Rays receiving??
And I kept refreshing…
It got to the point where there was some speculation that a possible third team was involved, because surely there’s no reason for it to take over an hour to see what the compensation was.
Then Ken Rosenthal hit us with this bomb:
The trade between the #Rays and #STLCards is a big one, involving six pieces, three on each side, sources tell The Athletic. At least two of those pieces are draft picks. LHP Matthew Liberatore, heading to STL, still only known name.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 9, 2020
WOAH! This just might be a doozie!
But then we got this from Passan:
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
The full details
The Rays acquired outfielder/first baseman Jose Martinez, outfielder Randy Arozarena and the 38th pick in the June draft in exchange for left-handed pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore, minor league catcher Edgardo Rodriguez and the 66th pick in the draft.
Martinez is a 31-year-old right-handed hitter who has a career slash line of .298/.363/.458 in his 1,156 career at-bats. He dominates left-handed pitching as he ranks fourth among active hitters (250 at-bat minimum) with a .331 average. He is, however, regarded as a below average fielder, and that might be being nice. Martinez is under team control until the 2022 season.
Arozarena is a 24-year-old (25 come Opening Day) outfield prospect who ranked 10th in the Cardinals system according to Baseball America. Between two minor league levels last year, Arozarena slashed .344/.431/.571 with a 1.003 OPS. For reference, Mike Trout‘s career OPS is 1.000. He hit 15 home runs, drove in 53 runs and stole 17 bases. In a short stint with the Cardinals in 2019, the youngster supplied a 37.5% hard contact rate, which would rank around 100 according to FanGraphs.
Liberatore, 20, is the 31st ranked prospect according to Baseball America. In 2018, the Rays used the 16th overall pick on the left-hander. Last season in Class A, Liberatore went 6-2 with a 3.10 ERA.
In his minor league career thus far, Rodriguez, 19, owns a .338/.389/.495 triple slash line in 216 at-bats. In that same time frame, he has six home runs and 40 runs batted in.
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