Rays trade RF Steven Souza Jr. to Diamondbacks as part of 3-team trade
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays have traded outfielder Steven Souza Jr. to the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of a three-team trade with the New York Yankees. In exchange, the Rays received left-handed pitcher Anthony Banda and two players to be named later (from Arizona) and minor league second baseman Nick Solak (from New York). The Yankees will receive infielder Brandon Drury from the Diamondbacks and send minor league right-handed pitcher Taylor Widener to Arizona.
Souza Jr., 28, was honored with the Don Zimmer Award, given to the Rays Most Valuable Player, by the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America last season. He hit .239/.351/.459 (125-for-523) and established career highs with 148 games, 78 runs, 125 hits, 21 doubles, 30 home runs, 78 RBI, 84 walks and 16 stolen bases. He became the eighth player in franchise history to hit 30 home runs or more in a season, joining Evan Longoria (4), Carlos Peña (3), José Canseco, Aubrey Huff, Fred McGriff, Brad Miller and Logan Morrison. In addition, his combination of homers and steals has been unmatched in franchise history and was matched by only four others in the majors in 2017: Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks (36-HR, 18-SB), Brian Dozier of the Minnesota Twins (34-HR, 16-SB), Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels (33-HR, 22-SB) and Wil Myers of the San Diego Padres (30-HR, 20-SB).
Over four major league seasons, he has hit .236/.325/.426 (318-for-1,349) with 65 HR and 169 RBI. He was selected by the Washington Nationals in the third round of the 2007 June Draft out of Cascade High School in Everett, Wash. He was acquired by the Rays as part of a three-team, 11-player trade on December 19, 2014.
Banda (BAHN-da), 24, made his major league debut for the Diamondbacks last season, appearing in eight games (four starts). He spent the rest of the season with Triple-A Reno, going 8-7 with a 5.39 ERA (122-IP, 73-ER) and 116 strikeouts in 22 starts. Following the season, he was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 2 prospect in the Diamondbacks system.
Over parts of six minor league seasons, he is 40-34 with a 3.83 ERA (644.2-IP, 274-ER) in 130 appearances (113 starts). He was the D-backs Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2016, going 10-6 with a 2.88 ERA (150-IP, 48-ER) and 152 strikeouts in 26 starts between Double-A Mobile and Reno. Also that season, he was selected to play for the U.S. Team in the All-Star Futures Game in San Diego and started for the Southern Division in the Southern League All-Star Game. In 2015, he led the California League and ranked seventh among all minor league pitchers in strikeouts.
He was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 10th round of the 2012 June Draft out of San Jacinto College in Houston. He was traded by the Brewers along with outfielder Mitch Haniger to the Diamondbacks at the 2014 trade deadline in exchange for outfielder Gerardo Parra.
Solak (SO-lack), 23, split the 2017 season between Class-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, batting .297/.384/.452 (138-for-465) with 26 doubles, five triples, 12 home runs, 53 RBI and 14 stolen bases. He was named to the Florida State League postseason All-Star Team and was a Yankees Organizational All-Star by MLB.com. In 100 games at the Class-A level, he led the Florida State League with a .397 on-base percentage and ranked second in batting avg. (.301) and slugging pct. (.460). He ended the 2017 season ranked by MLB.com as the No. 8 prospect in the Yankees system.
He was selected by the Yankees in the second round of the 2016 June Draft out of the University of Louisville. In 64 games with Short-A Staten Island in 2016, he was named to the New York-Penn League midseason All-Star Team and was named a Short-Season All-Star by Baseball America. He tied for second in the league with 77 hits, tied for third with a .412 on-base pct. and ranked fourth with a .321 batting avg.