The St. Louis Cardinals have acquired top pitching prospect Matt Liberatore via a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays, which signals far more for the team than simply "the St. Louis Cardinals have acquired top pitching prospect Matt Liberatore."
Liberatore is more than a solid prospect, and was the consensus top young arm in the Rays' organization prior to the trade. Aside from bolstering their pitching prowess to add Liberatore amongst names like Jack Flaherty and Jordan Hicks, this trade could open up the floodgates for further monumental moves within the organization. Here are three:
3. Re-signing Marcell Ozuna
The Cards unloaded some payroll figures in the process of acquiring Liberatore, including slugger Jose Martinez and fellow outfielder Randy Arozarena. Martinez was owed over $2 million in the new year, but with Ozuna remaining a top focus, the absence of his Martinez's salary could be just what they need to give Ozuna what he desires. Marcell's primed and ready to make St. Louis his home for the future, but says he'll only stay if the team "steps up."
2. The Coveted Arenado Trade
Nolan Arenado's probably had the hottest name on the market for the majority of the summer. He's got dozens of trade suitors -- St. Louis being one of them -- and with the Liberatore trade, they may be able to offer Colorado a hefty package. The Rockies need pitching, and with Liberatore being one of the best young prospects in the game, dumping him for a win-now move in Arenado may be an option. They've also got tons more cash to offer up as well.
1. Trading for Mookie Betts
If Ozuna can't be had, St. Louis will likely have no problem letting him walk in lieu of Mookie Betts. If Arenado's name hasn't been the most highly circulated in trade rumors, it's Betts', and the 27-year old could step into any clubhouse and immediately make an impact. Add in that former Rays executive and current Red Sox GM Chaim Bloom valued Liberatore highly during his time in Tampa Bay, and Boston could be very interested.