Report: Cardinals deal for top Tampa pitching prospect; could it lead to other deals?

ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Cardinals have made a deal to acquire one of the top pitching prospects in the Tampa Bay Rays organization, a trade first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

On Thursday afternoon, Passan reported that the Rays were sending Matt Liberatore, a lefthanded pitcher ranked as one of the top five prospects in Tampa’s organization, to the Cardinals, with the possibility that St. Louis would send a package including Major League players, and from the team’s depth of outfielders.

Liberatore was a first-round pick in 2018.

The deal has not been officially confirmed by either team.

The reported trade set off immediate speculation in baseball circles that it could serve as a possible precursor to more roster moves for the Cardinals.

The team reportedly remains involved in discussions with free-agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna, who has said he would be interested in returning to St. Louis.

While Liberatore would instantly become one of the Cardinals’ top pitching prospects, he would also be an attractive asset if St. Louis sought to acquire third baseman Nolan Arenado from the Colorado Rockies.

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