The Tampa Bay Rays traded a top pitching prospect for two right-handed bats.
The Tampa Bay Rays have completed a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Rays give up: Matt Liberatore, Edgardo Rodriguez, Competitive Balance Pick – Round B (66th)
Liberatore is MLB.com’s 41st ranked overall prospect in baseball. He is a left-handed pitching prospect who is entering his age-20 season. He spent last season in Single-A Bowling Green, appearing in 15 games and pitching 78.1 innings with a 3.10 ERA. Liberatore has walked 3.6 batters per nine at every single stop in his professional career but has a huge upside and is considered the second-best left-handed pitching prospect in the baseball.
The Rays are getting a much needed right-handed power bat. Martinez’s season was marred by injuries in 2019, but for his career, the 31-year-old has an OPS+ of 119 and a .458 slugging percentage.
Martinez has a career on-base percentage of .363 with a .298 batting average. For his career, Martinez has destroyed left-handed pitching to the tune of a .331/.405/.570 slash line. Martinez figures to slot in as outfield depth, provide a right-handed presence at first base, and at DH.
Between 2017-18, Martinez hit .306/.369/.478 with 31 homers and 129 RBIs in 806 at-bats. Martinez will only earn $2 million in 2020 and is under team control through the 2022 season.
Randy Orozarena also came as a part of the package. It is expected that he will be with the Rays on Opening Day. 2020 will qualify as his rookie season.
Last year at AAA-Memphis, Arozarena slashed .358/.534/.593. He had a total of 15 homers and 17 steals across double and Triple-A. He can play any outfield position for the Rays and will immediately compete with Kevin Kiermaier as the fastest player on the roster.
Arozarena also provides a right-handed depth for the Rays’ 2020 outfield.
Here’s a current look at the Rays offensive options following the trade:
The Rays reached into their deep farm system and made addressed their need for right-handed hitting. The roster has a really nice mix of right and left-handed options as it stands.
The Rays might have lost a powerful on-base presence in Tommy Pham, but they have replaced him with two similarly profiled players in Martinez and Tsutsugo, and huge potential power upside in Hunter Renfroe. Arozarena is certainly a player to watch in 2020 as he has shown on-base skills, speed, and even some power from the right-handed side.
It has been an interesting off-season as the Rays have quietly and patiently continued to improve their roster in advance of 2020.