3 Cardinals players who won't make Opening Day roster but will contribute a ton in 2023
1. Matthew Liberatore
Once the subject of a controversial trade, Matthew Liberatore came into the Cardinals organization as one of the top left-handed pitching prospects in all of baseball. After a taste of the MLB last season, Liberatore is on the outside looking in at a roster spot in 2023.
Liberatore was simply not effective in the majors last season, and with only one starting pitcher signed past the 2023 season, he needs to have a bounce-back year.
The 23-year-old gained seven starts for the Cardinals last season and made two appearances out of the bullpen. He was 2-2 on the year with a 5.97 ERA, and he struck out 28 batters in 34.2 innings of work.
What makes Liberatore an intriguing addition to this list is the congestion of the left-handed relief role and the injury history of the starting rotation. Both Adam Wainwright and Steven Matz are capable of missing time.
Liberatore is likely competing with Dakota Hudson and Jake Woodford for the sixth starter role this season. Though all three are likely to see significant big league time this season.
It's unfair to compare Liberatore's success to that of Randy Arozerana. However, Liberatore needs to start finding success at the big league level soon or the trade is going to look more like a Rays win very quickly.