Rays acquire Martinez from Cardinals for pitching prospect

St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Jose Martinez (38) catches a ball hit by Chicago Cubs' Ben Zobrist (18) during the first inning of a baseball game on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired first baseman-designated hitter Jose Martinez from St. Louis in a trade that sends left-hander Matthew Liberatore, one of the club's top minor league pitching prospects, to the Cardinals.

In addition to addressing the need for a right-handed bat, the Rays receive outfielder Randy Arozarena and a Compensation Round A draft pick in a four-player deal announced Thursday night. The Cardinals also get minor league catcher Edgardo Rodriguez and a Compensation Round B draft pick.

The 31-year-old Martinez is a career .298 hitter over parts of four seasons with the Cardinals. He batted .269 with 10 home runs and 42 RBIs in 128 games last season, when a right shoulder sprain sidelined him for three weeks in August. He hit .305 in 2018.

Martinez agreed last offseason to a $3.25 million, two-year deal and boosted this year's salary by $300,000 to $2.3 million after reaching escalators based on 2019 plate appearances.

Arozarena, 24, defected to the United States from Cuba in 2014 and made his major league debut last season, hitting .300 in 19 games over two stints with the Cardinals.

The Rays selected Liberatore with 16th overall pick in the June 2018 draft. The 20-year-old went 6-2 with a 3.10 ERA over 15 starts with Class A Bowling Green last season. 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.

Meanwhile, Rays reliever Chaz Roe agreed to a $2,185,200, one-year contract, avoiding arbitration. The right-hander was 1-3 with a 4.06 ERA in 71 appearances in 2019, when he made $1,275,000.

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