The New York Yankees have added another starting infield candidate, acquiring Brandon Drury in a three-team trade that also saw the Tampa Bay Rays send outfielder Steven Souza Jr. to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Rays received second baseman prospect Nick Solak from the Yankees, and pitcher Anthony Banda and two players to be named from the Diamondbacks.
Arizona also received minor league pitcher Taylor Widener from the Yankees.
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Drury can play either second or third base for a team that was looking at potentially starting rookies at both spots this season. Drury hit .267 with 13 homers and 63 RBIs in 135 games with Arizona in 2017.
After trading third baseman Chase Headley and second baseman Starlin Castro this offseason and not re-signing free-agent third baseman Todd Frazier, the Yankees were looking to add a veteran infielder in case either touted prospect Gleyber Torres or Miguel Andujar isn’t ready to crack the starting lineup as a rookie.
Torres, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left (non-throwing) elbow, and Andujar are both being looked at as potential starters at either second base or third.
Drury could start at either spot. Although he spent most of his time at second base last year with the Diamondbacks, he also has seen time at third base, as well as in left and right field.
Souza hit .239 with 30 homers and 78 RBIs in 148 games last year with Tampa Bay. He adds another bat for an Arizona club looking to replace the offense of J.D. Martinez, who has agreed to a deal with the Boston Red Sox.
Souza is the latest starter to be let go by the rebuilding Rays.
Souza, who had just arrived in Rays camp on Tuesday after attending to a family matter in Seattle, was asked about the departures in recent days of teammates Jake Odorizzi (traded to Twins) and Corey Dickerson (designated for assignment).
“They’re both dear friends to me, but this is part of the business, and we all signed up for this,” Souza told the Tampa Bay Times before news of his own trade. “And I think this is not a shocker to anybody. This is the way the Rays operated for the last couple of years. It’s our job to be professionals, accept what’s happening and go out there and do the best we can. I think we have a good group in here.”
Of the prospects involved in the trade, the left-handed Banda was ranked seventh on the Diamondbacks by ESPN’s Keith Law. Widener was ranked 15th and Solak 18th in the Yanks’ farm system, according to Law.
To make room for Drury on the 40-man roster, the Yankees designated outfielder Jabari Blash for assignment.