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Jose Martinez to Rays, Matt Liberatore to Cards

The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired Jose Martinez from the Cardinals in a four player, two pick deal

St Louis Cardinals v Atlanta Braves Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

MLB Trade Rumors: Jose Martinez and Matt Liberatore have been swapped by the St. Louis Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Rays in a trade that also features two draft picks and two other players, according to Jeff Passan on Twitter.

Liberatore, a lefthanded pitcher who was the Rays’ top pick in the 2018 draft (and was selected one pick after he was passed over by the Texas Rangers for Cole Winn in a move that has since been criticized by some), pitched last year for Bowling Green in the Midwest League, and is the #31 prospect on the Baseball America top 100 list. He is going to the Cardinals along with a Compensation B pick in the 2020 draft (which is the round between the second and third rounds) and what Passan describes as a “low-level catching prospect” to St. Louis for Martinez, outfielder Randy Arozarena and a Compensation A pick in the 2020 draft (which is the round between the first and second rounds).

Martinez is the big get for the Rays. The 31 year old righthanded hitter has mashed for the Cardinals — he has a career .298/.363/.458 slash line — but he is considered a well below average defender at 1B and left field, and not playable at any other position. He will presumaby be a DH for the Rays, and has three years of team control remaining. He’s a quality bat, but as someone who will be 32 this summer, it seems like giving up Liberatore and swapping draft picks to move up from between the 2nd/3rd rounds to the 1st/2nd rounds is pretty steep.

Arozarena, who turns 25 in February, is a Cuban outfielder who had a strong season in 2019 splitting between AA, AAA and the majors. He was ranked 10th among the Cardinals prospects according to BA, which says he projects as a fourth outfielder. Fangraphs had him at #14 in the Cardinals system, calling him a “classic tweener” outfielder.

UPDATE — Ken Rosenthal says that 19 year old Edgardo Rodriguez is the catcher going to St. Louis from the Rays. Fangraphs had him at #48 on their Rays list, and says he can hit but may not stay behind the plate