On Friday the Cardinals traded Randy Arozarena for Matthew Liberatore. That is what is being said on the internet anyway.
The Cardinals in fact traded Richie Palacios for Andrew Kittredge. I get the parallels; an outfielder for a pitcher with Tampa Bay and to a lot of fans the Cardinals lost that trade. Full disclosure on my part, I still think the jury is out. I still think Liberatore can be a good pitcher for this team if given a chance. You can find my reasons here.
I get the disappointment. Palacios was one of the few bright spots on a very bad team. He wasn’t someone though who would have been given a lot of work and if Victor Scott II makes the Opening day Roster there was a good chance he might have started the year in the minors.
Is it possible that Palacios will make the Cardinals regret this trade? It’s possible. Looking at the numbers, however, it seems that would be a stretch.
Looking at the first two years that Palacios and Arozarena had we can see they are not even close to the same player. Palacios played in twice as many games, 86 to 42, but Arozarena had a WAR of 1.2 to 0.3. Home runs were eight to six, and stolen bases were a six to four advantage Arozarena. Again, with Palacios having twice the at-bats. Arozarena’s batting average was .286, OBP .384, and slug was .607. Palacios had a batting average of .244, OBP .299, and a slug of only .390.
One of the ways I have found to compare players’ expectations is to use FanGraphs Future Value grade. “Future Value is a grade on the 20-80 scale that maps to anticipated annual WAR production during the player’s first six years of service.” The center of the scale (50) represents the major league average. This was what FanGraphs had as their prospects report on each player. Palacios had an FV grade of 40, Arozarena has an FV grade of 60. The experts believed that Palacios would be a below-average MLB player and Arozarena was graded out to be an above-average player as a prospect.
Instead of looking back a a previous trade, we need to take a minute and look at the future. If this means that Scott can now be on the roster the Cardinals will have a player with a higher floor and a much greater ceiling. The Cardinals also have a previous All-Star into the bullpen which had an empty spot to be filled.
This was not Arozarena for Liberatore. This was Palacios, a fifth outfielder, for an All-Star bullpen arm and a chance to maybe see one of the most exciting prospects the Cardinals have in centerfield.