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Cardinals, Rays make six-player trade involving José Martínez and Matt Liberatore

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Update (7:22 PM ET): Per Passan, the Cardinals are sending 1B/OF José Martínez, outfielder Randy Arozarena, and a Compensation Round A pick to the Rays for Liberatore, a low-level catching prospect, and a Compensation Round B pick.

Martínez, 31, has a .296/.361/.458 slash line along with 41 home runs and 171 RBI across 1,270 plate appearances spanning the past three seasons. His defense leaves much to be desired, but the Rays can hide him at DH.

Arozarena, 24, is the Cardinals’ No. 10 prospect, per MLB Pipeline. He performed well in a limited amount of time late last season, batting .300/.391/.500 with a double, a homer, two RBI, four runs scored, and two stolen bases in 23 trips to the plate.

The low-level catching prospect is Edgardo Rodriguez, per Rosenthal. Rodriguez, 19, spent last season with the Rays’ rookie league team, batting .400/.429/.520 over 10 games.

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Update (6:34 PM ET): The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the trade will be three-for-three. At the moment, Liberatore is the only known name in the deal.

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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Cardinals have acquired pitching prospect Matt Liberatore from the Rays. The return is unknown but the Rays are expected to receive “major league pieces.” Passan notes that the Rays had been on the hunt for outfield bats.

Liberatore, 20, was ranked No. 4 in the Rays’ system and No. 41 across baseball, per MLB Pipeline. The left-hander was selected by the Rays in the first round (16th overall) in the 2018 draft. This past season for Single-A Bowling Green, Liberatore compiled a 3.10 ERA with 76 strikeouts and 31 walks over 78 1/3 innings.

Even without knowing the full details, it is a curious trade for the Rays considering the club had Tommy Pham but traded him to the Padres last month. Pham was projected to earn $8.6 million in arbitration.

We’ll update this post as more details emerge.

Reds sign Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal

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The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielder Nicholas Castellanos to a multi-year deal. That’s the report from C. Trent Rosecrans and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Jon Morosi of MLB.com was the first to report the Reds as frontrunners. The deal is pending a physical. UPDATE: The deal is four years. Financial terms have yet to be reported.

With Castellanos in the fold the Reds are going to have a lot of outfielders when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton already on the roster. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps taking over short from Freddy Galvis, who could be dealt. Alternatively, the Reds could trade from their newfound outfield surplus.

Castellanos, however, will have left field to himself. While he’s shaky at best with the glove, he had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power.

Now that he’ll be playing in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.