His team might have come up just short in the World Series, but there’s no denying it. Tampa Bay Rays rookie Randy Arozarena was the breakout star of the 2020 MLB postseason.
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Arozarena set all-time records for the most hits (29) and home runs (10). He tied the record for extra-base hits with 14 and was two short of the runs record. In total, he hit a monstrous .377/.442/.831 across 86 plate appearances.
The 25-year-old Arozarena was by far the biggest offensive threat on a Rays team that won the American League, and absolutely no one could have predicted that from a man still ranked as the Rays’ No. 19 prospect by MLB Pipeline.
However, the man who traded him away is still going to be kicking himself for a while.
Cardinals want to avoid a Randy Arozarena trade repeat
Speaking with Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak stated the obvious. He regrets the Randy Arozarena trade, and takes full responsibility for the trade that landed the nascent star in Tampa Bay.
The regret apparently runs deep enough that Arozarena’s success has triggered an audit of the Cardinals organization’s decision-making.
"I will own that. That's on me. You need to know your own players. We will revisit how we rank our own players and make sure that we don't have something like this happen again." -- Mozeliak pre-emptively answering the Arozarena questions. #stlcards #cardinals #MLB
— Derrick S. Goold (@dgoold) October 28, 2020
The Cardinals traded Arozarena to the Rays back in January. At the time, it was either seen as the Matthew Liberatore trade or the Jose Martinez trade, depending on what side you were on and which player you valued more.
Martinez was then a big bat that looked like a ready-made DH, which made him perfect for the Rays. Liberatore was and still is a legit pitching prospect who could still deliver significant value for the Cardinals. Arozarena almost felt like a throw-in, despite hitting .300/.391/.500 in an oh-so-small sample size while with the Cardinals.
Arozarena simply didn’t have the kind of minor league track record or prospect luster to make people believe big things were coming. But it’s all here now, and watching the Rays over the next few years won’t be a fun exercise for Cardinals fans if Arozarena is capable of sustaining even a fraction of the stardom he showed this postseason.
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