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Cardinals, Rays make six-player trade involving José Martínez and Matt Liberatore

St Louis Cardinals v Arizona Diamondbacks

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 25: Jose Martinez #38 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits an RBI double in the third inning of the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on September 25, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Arizona Diamondbacks won 9 to 7. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

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Update (7:22 PM ET): Per Passan, the Cardinals are sending 1B/OF José Martínez, outfielder Randy Arozarena, and a Compensation Round A pick to the Rays for Liberatore, a low-level catching prospect, and a Compensation Round B pick.

Martínez, 31, has a .296/.361/.458 slash line along with 41 home runs and 171 RBI across 1,270 plate appearances spanning the past three seasons. His defense leaves much to be desired, but the Rays can hide him at DH.

Arozarena, 24, is the Cardinals’ No. 10 prospect, per MLB Pipeline. He performed well in a limited amount of time late last season, batting .300/.391/.500 with a double, a homer, two RBI, four runs scored, and two stolen bases in 23 trips to the plate.

The low-level catching prospect is Edgardo Rodriguez, per Rosenthal. Rodriguez, 19, spent last season with the Rays’ rookie league team, batting .400/.429/.520 over 10 games.


Update (6:34 PM ET): The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the trade will be three-for-three. At the moment, Liberatore is the only known name in the deal.


ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Cardinals have acquired pitching prospect Matt Liberatore from the Rays. The return is unknown but the Rays are expected to receive “major league pieces.” Passan notes that the Rays had been on the hunt for outfield bats.

Liberatore, 20, was ranked No. 4 in the Rays’ system and No. 41 across baseball, per MLB Pipeline. The left-hander was selected by the Rays in the first round (16th overall) in the 2018 draft. This past season for Single-A Bowling Green, Liberatore compiled a 3.10 ERA with 76 strikeouts and 31 walks over 78 1/3 innings.

Even without knowing the full details, it is a curious trade for the Rays considering the club had Tommy Pham but traded him to the Padres last month. Pham was projected to earn $8.6 million in arbitration.

We’ll update this post as more details emerge.

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