Well, it happened. The St. Louis Cardinals made a blockbuster trade today. The Cardinals traded OF Jose Martinez, OF Randy Arozarena and a Compensation A pick (after 1st round) to the Tampa Bay Rays for LHP prospect Matt Liberatore, 19-year-old catcher Edgardo Rodriguez, and a Comp B pick (post-2nd).
While it will sting for most of the 2020 season to see the founder of The Bench Mafia missing from the Cards dugout, it’ll be nice to see what Martinez can do in the American League. He was born to be a designated hitter and now we have the chance to see it happen.
Arozarena, known as the Triple-A king last season was also the same guy who went live on Instagram, allowing the world to see Mike Shildt’s expletive speech after the 2019 NLDS. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. No need to even quote it.
So who are the new guys?
20-year-old Liberatore posted a 3.10 ERA, a W-L% of .750, 6-2 W-L, 3.79 RA9, 16 games with the Bowling Green Hot Rods in 2019. He allowed 70 hits, 33 runs, 27 ER, 2 HR, and walked 31 in 78.1 innings pitched.
He’s good – no in fact, he’s really good. And he’s friends with Cardinals prospect Nolan Gorman. The two have been best friends since they were four years old. Liberatore is defined as a workhorse and according to Dani Wexelman on Twitter, the Cardinals are “stoked” to have him join their organization. He’s a good fit for the future.
The 19-year-old Venezuelan Rodriguez is known as a catcher and designated hitter. So far, he’s spent time with the Rays’ Dominican Summer League in 2018 and the Gulf Coast affiliate in 2019. With Yadier Molina defying Father Time and Andrew Knizner waiting behind him, it’s critical that the organization keep the position filled. Assuming he’ll be right behind Ivan Herrera, it’ll be nice to see what he can do.
Between 2018 and 2019, Rodriguez earned an average of .338, 73 hits, 37 runs, six HR, 13 BB, and struck out 25 times in 61 games (244 PA/216 AB). And don’t worry about his fielding – in 223.1 innings (between 2018 and 2019), he had 175 PO, 32 assists, three errors, .986 fielding percentage, 8.34 RF/9, and 6.68 RF/G.
Here’s hoping the trade goes off without a hitch and everyone is happy.
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(Photo Credit: Getty Images)