It was a big week for the Tampa Bay Rays as they made two trades and signed five players to contracts that were pending arbitration.
The Rays parted ways with their number one draft pick pick from 2018, pitcher Matthew Liberatore along with minor league catcher Rodrigo Rodriguez in exchange for Cardinals 1B/OF Jose Martinez and Cuban outfield prospect Randy Arozarena.
After electing to not resign D’Arnaud, Garcia, and Tommy Pham To new contracts, the Rays had to try to replace that production and made the trade with the Cardinals.
This trade makes the Rays a better team, but remains to be seen how this trade will impact the team long term.
Martinez is very good offensively but is a liability defensively. Martinez hit just .269 last year with ten home runs and that was the worst year for Martinez in his three years in the majors.
The 31 year old Martinez is a career .298 hitter and his best year was in 2018 when he hit .305 with 17 homers and drove in 83 runs.
Martinez may be used a bit at first base or in the outfield, but he will be used primarily as a DH for the Rays.
Arozarena has just 20 at bats in the Major Leagues hitting .300 with one homer and two runs batted in last season with the Cardinals. Arozarena spent most of the 2019 season with Memphis in the Pacific Coast league hitting .358 with 12 home runs and driving in 38 runs.
Arozarena has good speed and can hit for power. Arozarena is just 24 years old and their is no guarantee that he will make the Rays roster out of spring training, but should be with the club to stay sometime in 2020.
The Rays outfield is pretty much set with Keirmaier, Meadows, and Renfroe as the starters going into spring training.
The Rays hated to part with liberatore who was the number three prospect in the organization behind Wander Franco and Brendan McKay, But The organization felt there was too much upside offensively in acquiring Martinez and Arozarena to not make the trade.
Liberatore was 6-2 with a 3.10 ERA at Class A Bowling Green last seson.
The Rays also made a trade with the Houston Astros this week sending pitcher Austin Pruitt to the Astros in exchange for outfielder Cal Stevenson and pitcher Peyton Battenfield.
Pruitt used out of the bullpen and as a spot starter was 12-8 in his career with the Rays with a 4.87 ERA.
As reported by the Tampa Bay Times, the team came to terms with all five arbitration-eligible players before today’s deadline. Tyler Glasnow, Hunter Renfroe, Oliver Drake. and Daniel Robertson, all signed one-year deals. Chaz Roe signed his contract on Thursday.
The Rays also added some depth at catching this week signing Chris Herrmann to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. Herrmann played the 2019 with the Oakland organization.
Herrmann will compete with Mike Perez for the backup role to starter Mike Zunino.
Pitchers and catchers will report to Port Charlotte on February 13th, with the full squad reporting on February 18th.