Diamondbacks acquire Steven Souza Jr. in three-team trade

The Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays pulled off a big three-team trade Tuesday afternoon. FanRag Sports’ Robert Murray first reported a trade between the Rays and Yankees, and FRS’ Jon Heyman later reported the Diamondbacks were also a part of the deal.

The Rays acquired left-handed pitcher Anthony Banda from Arizona and second-base prospect Nick Solak from New York. Arizona landed Steven Souza Jr. from Tampa Bay and the Yankees acquired Brandon Drury from the Diamondbacks.

The trade is the latest in a theme of Florida fire sales, as it seems the Rays are following in the footsteps of the Miami Marlins.

Anthony Banda, Arizona’s No. 4 overall prospect last season according to MLB Pipeline, struggled in the time he spent in the minor and major leagues last year. With Triple-A Reno, he recorded a 8-7 record with a 5.39 ERA in 22 games. He struck out 116 batters and had a WHIP of 1.40. During his abbreviated stint with the Diamondbacks, Banda appeared in eight games, starting four, and had a 2-3 record with a 5.96 ERA. He will try to improve upon those numbers in Tampa Bay next season as he will join a rotation under the leadership of ace right-handed pitcher Chris Archer.

The acquisition of Souza Jr. appears to be the Diamondbacks’ backup plan after free-agent slugger J.D. Martinez signed a five-year/$110 million contract with the Boston Red Sox. Last season, he slashed .239/.351/.459 with 30 home runs and 78 RBIs. He will be a cheaper option for the Diamondbacks than Martinez, and Arizona can expect the same production from Souza Jr. as well. Martinez had a 4.1 WAR last season, compared to Souza Jr.’s 4.2.

Brandon Drury, just 24 years old, had a solid season in the desert last year. He slashed .267/.317/.447 with 13 home runs and 63 RBIs. He had a park-adjusted OPS+ of 89, below league average, and posted a 1.6 WAR. After the departure of Chase Headley and Todd Frazier, the trade gives the Yankees more flexibility and control at third base, as well as the middle of their infield. This move also means that Ketel Marte will likely assume a full-time position at second base in Drury’s absence.

Nick Solak, the Yankees’ No. 8 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline, will give the Rays more infield depth after franchise cornerstone third baseman Evan Longoria signed with the San Francisco Giants earlier this offseason. Solak, a career second baseman, split the 2017 season in Class-A Advanced Tampa and Double-A Trenton. He hit .297/.384/.452 with 12 home runs and 53 RBIs in his second professional season.

Look for the Rays to continue their teardown throughout the rest of the offseason and into the start of spring training, as they still have valuable trade chips in center fielder Kevin Keirmeier and starting pitcher Chris Archer.


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