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Rays send Souza Jr. to D-Backs in three-way trade

The rapid dismantling of the Tampa Bay Rays’ roster continued on Tuesday, just three days before the start of the Grapefruit League exhibition season. The team sent outfielder Steven Souza Jr. to the Diamondbacks in a three-way trade that also included the New York Yankees, the teams confirmed.

Last season, Souza hit .239/.351/.459 and established career-highs with 78 runs, 125 hits, 21 doubles, 30 home runs, 78 RBI, 84 walks and 16 stolen bases. Souza was also an asset on defense for the Rays. The 6-4, 225-pound right fielder was credited with an overall 7 defensive runs saved, tied for ninth-most in the AL.

In exchange for the 28-year-old slugger, Tampa Bay will receive left-handed pitching prospect Anthony Banda from Arizona, as well as a pair of players to be named later, and second baseman Nick Solak from New York.

The Yankees will receive Diamondbacks infielder Brandon Drury. Arizona will also receive right-hander Taylor Widener from New York in the deal.

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Restocking the Farm System

Banda, 24, was rated the No. 2 overall prospect in the Diamondbacks’ system, according to Baseball America. He made his big-league debut in 2017 going 2-3 with a 5.96 ERA in 25 2/3 innings — including four starts. With Triple-A Reno, Banda went 8-7 with a 5.39 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 122 innings. He was the Diamondbacks’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2016, going 10-6 with a 2.88 ERA and 152 strikeouts in 150 innings between Double-A Mobile and Reno.

Solak, the Yankees’ No. 8 overall prospect, was a second round pick of the 2016 June Draft out of the University of Louisville. The 23-year-old was named to the Florida State League All-Star Team last season after he led the FSL with a .397 on-base percentage and ranked second in batting avg. (.301) and slugging pct. (.460) in 100 games at the High-A level.

The Rays will also receive two more players from Arizona at a later date.

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A Busy Week

Souza Jr., the team’s MVP in 2017, is the latest departure from a team that has seen most of its most marketable faces head to new teams this offseason.

This marks the third major transaction involving a key member of last year’s Rays team in the last three days. On Saturday, the Rays sent starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for minor league infielder Jermaine Palacios and acquiried first baseman¬† C.J. Cron from the Angels. To clear room on the 40-man roster, the team designated DH/OF Corey Dickerson for assignment.

The mass overhaul, of course began with the trading of franchise icon Evan Longoria in December to the San Francisco Giants for outfielder Denard Span and a package of prospects including top prospect Christian Arroyo.


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