Matthew Liberatore is one of the most polarizing prospects that the Cardinals have in their organization. Once heralded as a front-line starter, it is becoming clear that his ceiling is middle-of-the-rotation at best. That does not make Liberatore a bad pitcher. In fact, he could be very useful for the Cardinals moving forward.
The question becomes though - is he better used within the Cardinals' organization or elsewhere? St. Louis has five starters already for 2023, a swingman in Dakota Hudson, and will likely look to add pitching from outside the organization as well. Couple that with other young arms such as Gordon Graceffo, Michael McGreevy, Connor Thomas, and eventually guys like Tink Hence and Connor Hjerpe looking for a shot, and Liberatore's place in the organization seems really muddy.
We need to remember that Liberatore is just 23 years old and that he still has plenty of time to develop for St. Louis. His fastball velocity did drop in 2022 and the pitch as a whole is a major issue for him at the moment, but getting back on track in 2023 should not be ruled out by any means.
Even so, does that just increase the likelihood that he joins other Cardinals' in any potential deals this summer? Should the Cardinals make a splash move, Liberatore would be a quality piece to include, and based off the club's other options, it probably wouldn't hurt them much to part with him.
With four of the five projected starters in 2023 set to be free agents, the Cardinals may want to hold onto Liberatore anyways, to give them as many arms as possible to compete for a rotation spot in 2024, but if there was an odd man out right now, he could be that guy.