The Tampa Bay Rays are just two games into the Grapefruit League action that are already seeing the fruits of their trade labors from this offseason.
The Tampa Bay Rays traded highly-touted, left-handed pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore to the Cardinals for Jose Martinez and Randy Arozarena. The move was lauded as a win-now move for the budget-restricted Rays, who are notorious for always keeping an eye on the future.
Arozarena has displayed every tool at the minor league level and had a promising run with the Cardinals last season, which included his great all-around game against the Diamondbacks on September 25, 2019. He threw Adam Jones out on a laser beam to third base, stole two bases, and hit a home run to left field.
Arozarena is displaying those same skills in a very limited sample size with the Tampa Bay Rays this spring. Despite not starting a game yet, he leads all of baseball in spring runs scored with three. He is two for two with a double and a triple. His triple came on Sunday in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Yankees with two runners on.
The extra-base blast drove in two runs to give the Rays the lead. Arozarena’s awareness led to another run scored as the catcher sailed the throwback to the mound. Randy’s speed didn’t give anyone time to even bend over to pick up the ball and throw it home.
While Manuel Margot is a known commodity in the major leagues, there is a lot of interest in what Randy Arozarena will bring to the Rays’ outfield. Margot has been a below-average hitter for his career and had a rough game on Sunday. He struck out twice and called off Daniel Robertson on a can of corn flyball to short. Robertson ceded to Margot’s calls and the ball dropped miserably on the infield dirt.
It’s still very early, but Arozarena has already raised a lot of eyebrows. He is not in the starting lineup for today’s game against the Red Sox.