Yesterday, Thursday Jan. 9, 2020, it was announced. St. Louis Cardinals had made a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays. Top of their list to go to the Rays, PH/1B/OF Jose "Cafe Jr" Martinez. News that was heartbreaking, astounding, 'was not ready to hear' type of news for me personally.
J Martinez was player who gave his all for our Cardinals and brought some big hits during the four seasons holding a career .298 BA. With defense not being his strong suit, being traded to an American League team gives him the opportunity continue as Rays designated hitter, he will serve them well. And, Rays just became my favorite AL team. And, yes, as he stole the hearts of Cardinals fans with being a true team player with heart and soul - team supporter in every way - great person in general, Rays fans will see the same. #KeneticEnergy every moment, even at the plate.
I knew, more than likely, this day would come as the 'suggestion' was highly mentioned during the 2019 season. But, one is never ready to see your favorite player being issued travel papers.
Also in the mix headed for Tampa Bay, is prospect OF Randy Arozarena, along with Rays receiving a Compensation A pick (after 1st round) draft pick.
Only my best for both, now former Cardinals players, in this next chapter for each of them. TB Rays has just become my favorite AL Team.
IN RETURN PROSPECT LHP MATT LIBERATORE TO CARDINALS
Rays prospect Matt Liberatore is impressive and a lefty with a fastball ranges from the low 90's to 95 MPH; along with a swing-and-miss hammer curveball.
Scouting report: "He sits in the low 90s and touches 95 mph with a fastball that plays above its velocity because he's deceptive and gets such good extension over his front side. Liberatore's curveball is a swing-and-miss hammer, thrown with three-quarters tilt and good spin rate, and he introduced a new, and very effective, slider during the spring. His diving changeup, meanwhile, is another promising pitch, one that plays nicely off his heater and could be his best secondary offering when all is said and done."
Liberatore was the No. 16 overall pick in the 2018 MLB June Amateur Draft. He posted a 3.10 ERA across 78 1/3 innings of work for Tampa Bay’s Single-A affiliate this past season. He was also ranked No. 41 on MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospects list. (Marty Fenn, Clutchpoints)
Along with Liberatore, Cardinals will receive a low-level catching prospect and Compensation B pick (post-2nd), per ESPN as reported from 'a source' familiar with the trade.
JUST HOW LONG WILL LIBERATORE BE WITH THE CARDINALS?
This is the baseball off-season which lends to "Hot Stove" rumors and a bloggers delight - the season of speculations, also.