The Rays continued to be busy in the trade market, this time dealing first baseman/outfielder José Martínez to the Cubs for two players to be named later or cash considerations, the club announced Sunday.
Martínez, who was acquired from the Cardinals in January, was hitting just .239 (16-for-67) with two home runs and 10 RBIs in 24 games with the Rays. Martínez had split time between first base and designated hitter, but he had started to fall out of consistent playing time with Tampa Bay.
Since Aug. 14, Martínez had started just four of the team’s 14 games, most of them coming as the designated hitter against left-handed pitching, which has been a strength for Martínez throughout his career. This season, however, Martínez was hitting just .229 with one home run in 35 at-bats against lefties.
With Martínez headed to the Cubs, the Rays will continue to rely on Ji-Man Choi to handle most of the first-base duties. Michael Brosseau can also play the position against left-handed pitching. At DH, the Rays will keep alternating options, led by Austin Meadows, Brandon Lowe, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo and Yandy Díaz.
Arozarena, the Rays’ No. 19 prospect per MLB Pipeline, made quite the impression during Spring Training, but he was held out of Summer Camp due to a positive COVID-19 test during intake.
At the alternate training site, Arozarena has been one of the most impressive hitters, and he’ll be relied upon against left-handed pitching and will also be a key pinch-runner for the Rays. With Arozarena, the Rays have seven outfielders on the active roster. Brett Phillips, who was acquired from the Royals on Thursday, is still waiting to join the team.