The Purge Continues: Rays Deal Souza To Diamondbacks

Rays Deal Team MVP To Diamondbacks

Tampa Bay Rays, Milwaukee Brewers
AP Photo: Chris O’Meara

The Tampa Bay Rays continue to reduce their roster dealing Steven Souza Jr. to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three team deal with the New York Yankees.

For their part the Diamondbacks sent Brandon Drury to the New York Yankees.  The Yankees sent minor league pitcher Taylor Weidner to the Diamondbacks. The Rays receive minor league second baseman Nick Solak from the Yankees and left-handed pitcher Anthony Banda and two players to be named later from the Diamondbacks.

Souza, 29 in April, enjoyed his best season as a major leaguer batting .239/.351/.459 with 30 homers. He increased his walk rate to 13.6-ercent while still striking out 29-percent of his plate appearances.  He was due to make $3.6MM this season and is under team control for three more season.

Rays Acquire 2b:

Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees
Photo Credit: Associated Press

Nick Solak, 23, was drafted by the Yankees in the second round in 2016 out of the University of Louisville. He is currently ranked as the #5 second base prospect by MLB.com.   Last season he split time between the High-A Tampa Yankees and the Double-A Trenton Thunder.  Overall he hit .297/.384/.452 with 12 homers. MLB.com had him pegged as the Yankees 8th best prospect.

Rays Acquire Hard Throwing Lefty:

Arizona Diamondbacks, Tampa Bay Rays
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Anthony Banda, 24, got his first taste of the big leagues last season and struggled posting a 2-3 record with a 5.96 ERA.  He also struggled with the Diamondbacks Triple-A affiliate Reno Aces going 8-7 with a 5.39 ERA.  He was ranked by Baseball America as the 88th prospect in baseball going into the 2017 season.

Currently, Baseball America ranks him as the 10th best left-handed prospect in the game. He did rise to #68 on Baseball America’s 2017 mid-season ranking. Here is a snippet of the scouting report:

Banda has come a long way since being drafted by the Brewers out of San Jacinto (Texas) JC in the 10th round in 2012. He had command issues in his first two pro seasons and was throwing in the high 80s, but has cut back on walks and now sits 92-95 mph with his fastball, touching 98. His curveball is his best pitch, flashing plus, and his changeup projects at least average. Banda is athletic with an easy, repeatable delivery and generates a majority of ground balls with his downer change and curveball. His competitiveness is considered a great asset.
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