The St. Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Rays reportedly struck a deal on Thursday that involves one of the biggest upcoming names in baseball that you may not know just yet.
Cardinals obtain Matthew Liberatore
ESPN’s Jeff Passan is reporting that the Cardinals have obtained left-handed prospect Matthew Liberatore from the Tampa Bay Rays. While it is still unclear who the Cardinals have given up to get Liberatore, it sounds like it could be a starting outfielder by the tone of Passan’s tweet.
Well-regarded pitching prospect Matt Liberatore has been traded from the Tampa Bay Rays to the St. Louis Cardinals, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN. It's part of a trade expected to send major league pieces back to Tampa Bay, which has been searching for outfield bats.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 9, 2020
The 20-year-old Liberatore was the 16th pick in the 2018 draft. His potential to become a starting frontline pitcher in the big leagues is very strong, according to many MLB experts.
While he is most likely to be looked at as a possible 2021 or 2022 starter for the Cardinals, that could always change depending on how he does this season in the minors.
Liberatore pitched in Single-A in 2019, where he totaled 78 innings in 15 outings. In his two seasons with the Rays, Liberatore has posted an 8-4 record in the minors.
Cardinals setting up for Nolan Arenado deal?
While the deal to obtain Matthew Liberatore from Tampa Bay is more about the future, are the Cardinals preparing for something big now? Passan’s tweet included a telling line:
“It’s part of a trade expected to send major league pieces back to Tampa Bay, which has been searching for outfield bats.”
What major league pieces are we talking about?
With all of the rumors that the Colorado Rockies are ready to talk shop about trading star third baseman Nolan Arenado, the Cardinals have been linked by several sources as one of the teams that are interested.
If that is the case, could St. Louis be sending a star or two to Tampa to clear up the room for the Colorado star?
Obviously, the Rockies won’t just give Arenado away on the cheap, so swapping starting position players with the Rockies — along with giving up some young talent — may be what the Cardinals have to do if they want in on the Arenado sweepstakes.