Rays acquire Martínez, Arozarena from Cardinals

January 10th, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired first baseman/designated hitter José Martínez, outfielder Randy Arozarena and a Competitive Balance Round A draft pick (No. 38 overall) from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for minor league left-handed pitcher Matthew Liberatore, minor league catcher Edgardo Rodriguez and a Competitive Balance Round B draft pick (No. 66 overall). A corresponding move to the 40-man roster will be announced later.

Martínez, 31, enters the second year of a two-year, $3.25 million contract and is arbitration-eligible through the 2022 season. He is a career .298/.363/.458 (344-for-1,156) hitter over parts of four major league seasons, all with the Cardinals, including a .305 avg. (163-for-534) in 2018 to finish seventh in the National League. Among active players with at least 250 at-bats against left-handed pitching, Martínez ranks among major league leaders in avg. (.331, fourth), on-base pct. (.405, eighth) and slugging pct. (.570, 11th). Over his major league career, he has appeared at right field (138 games, 120 starts), first base (118 games, 113 starts), left field (35 games, 26 starts) and designated hitter (19 games, all starts).

In 2019, Martínez hit .269/.340/.410 (90-for-334) with 10 home runs and 42 RBI in 128 games (80 starts), splitting time between right field (75 games, 68 starts), designated hitter (eight games, all starts) and left field (seven games, four starts). He missed three weeks in August due to a right shoulder sprain and hit just .228/.333/.370 (21-for-92) following the All-Star break, compared to a team-leading .285 avg. (69-for-242) over 85 games (58 starts) in the first half.

Martínez made his major league debut as a 27-year-old in September 2016 after 10 seasons and 887 games in the minors between the Chicago White Sox, Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals and Cardinals organizations.

Arozarena (ah-row-sah-RAY-nah), 24, is currently ranked by both Baseball America and MLB.com as the No. 10 prospect in the Cardinals organization. Last season, he hit .300/.391/.500 (6-for-20) in 19 games (four starts) over two stints with the Cardinals, his first career major league action. He also played for Double-A Springfield in the Texas League and Triple-A Memphis in the Pacific Coast League, batting .344/.431/.571 (118-for-343) with 15 home runs, 53 RBI and 17 stolen bases between the two levels. He played two seasons in the Cuban National Series and one season in the Mexican League before signing with the Cardinals on August 1, 2016. Over three minor league seasons, he is batting .292/.377/.477 (330-for-1,129) with 38 home runs and 151 RBI, including a selection to the World team for the 2018 Futures Game at Nationals Park.

Liberatore, 20, was selected by the Rays in the first round (16th overall) of the 2018 June Draft out of Mountain Ridge (Ariz.) High School. He spent last season with Class-A Bowling Green, going 6-2 with a 3.10 ERA (78.1-IP, 27-ER) in 16 appearances (15 starts). He was named the Rays Minor League Pitcher of the Month for June, going 4-1 with a 0.55 ERA (33-IP, 2-ER) in five starts. Following the season, he was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 31 overall prospect in the minors.

Rodriguez, 19, played 51 games for the Dominican Summer League Rays in 2018 but was limited to 10 games with the Gulf Coast League Rays last season. Over his two minor league seasons, he is batting .338/.389/.495 (73-for-216) with six home runs and 40 RBI in 61 games. He was signed by the Rays on July 3, 2017 out of Valencia, Venezuela.