In a trade that came completely out of nowhere, the St. Louis Cardinals have acquired Matthew Liberatore from the Rays. Who is he and what does this mean?
While the whole city of St. Louis drooled over the thought of Nolan Arenado in a St. Louis Cardinals jersey, John Mozeliak was seemingly at work.
In a trade from out of left field, the Cardinals have acquired left-handed pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore from the Tampa Bay Rays.
This seems so odd because there was no buildup from any of this, it just happened. Let me tell you why this trade is so great though.
By “Well-regarded,” Jeff Passan is referring to the fact that Liberatore was the #41 prospect in all of baseball. The left-hander projects as a #2 starter, meaning he is the real deal, top-of-the-rotation talent that the Cardinals have missed from their system in the past few years.
Liberatore is 20 years old and was drafted 16th overall in the 2018 MLB Draft and pitched in Single-A in 2019 with a 3.10 ERA and just two homers allowed in 78.1 innings.
We can dig deeper into Liberatore later, but right now, the big question is about what the Cardinals are going to be giving up for Liberatore. A stingy team like the Rays won’t give up a highly-touted pitcher easy, and as Passan noted, it’s MLB pieces going back to Tampa Bay.
It’s not confirmed yet and we will update the piece when it is, but right away it looks like Tyler O’Neill and/or Jose Martinez are going to be involved. In my eyes, that is an easy and resounding yes. O’Neill has never been given the playing time and Martinez fits better in the AL with the DH anyways. Heyman also mentioned that Harrison Bader could be included.
More from St Louis Cardinals News
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- St. Louis Cardinals sign Oscar Mercado and four others to MiLB deals
- St. Louis Cardinals: Paul Goldschmidt named 2022 NL MVP
- Lars Nootbaar is a prime Cardinals trade candidate
Again, this post will be updated when more information is known. It could be one or any of the three of those players.
Back to Liberatore, he could (in a year or two) be a guy who shoots to the top of the rotation from the left side OR this could be a precursor to a Nolan Arenado trade. Call me crazy all you want, but the Rockies may not have been enthralled with the pitching talent that the Cardinals were willing to sacrifice to get Arenado.
Now with a top-50 pitching prospect in hand, the Cardinals could flip Liberatore with his best friend, Cardinals current #2 prospect, Nolan Gorman, to get Arenado.
If Liberatore stays, the Cardinals just added to their farm system in a big way while clearing out some of their outfield glut. No matter which outfielder is going back to Tampa Bay, this is a great move.
Hard to see Jose Martinez and Randy Arozarena go, but for Liberatore and what he may do or get for the Cardinals, transferring outfield depth to him and a catching prospect is a huge win. Still love the trade from Mo. As far as the picks go, that was an extra first-round pick, now it just drops to the second round. Great work all around.
A 6-5 left-handed starter who is a top-50 prospect in baseball is never a bad thing to have, especially when you get him dealing from a place of surplus in the form of MLB-ready outfielders. Fantastic job Mozeliak.