SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Diamondbacks sent infielder Brandon Drury to the New York Yankees and received outfielder Steven Souza Jr. from the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-team trade Tuesday that included five players.
The deal was announced one day after former Diamondbacks outfielder J.D. Martinez agreed to a $110 million, five-year contract with Boston, pending a physical.
Drury gives the Yankees a new option at third base and second base, where New York was projected to start a pair of rookies.
Arizona pitching prospect Anthony Banda goes to the Rays, who also get minor league second baseman Nick Solak from the Yankees and two players to be named from the Diamondbacks. Minor league right-hander Taylor Widener goes from New York to Arizona.
Souza helps fill a power void in Arizona’s outfield created by Martinez’s departure.
Souza, 28, batted .239 with a career-high 30 home runs and 78 RBIs last year. He had a .351 on-base percentage, a .459 slugging percentage, stole 16 bases and is regarded as a solid defender in right field — in contrast to the reputations of Martinez and Yasmany Tomas, who entered training camp as the favorite to fill the position for Arizona. He will be paid $3.55 million and is under team control through the end of the 2020 season.
Steven Souza hit 30 home runs last year playing half his games in a pitcher’s ballpark. His WAR (@fangraphs) of 3.7 was highest of all Rays, and more than any Dback other than Paul Goldschmidt. He turns 29 in April and will be paid $3.55 million. pic.twitter.com/WALvZhPxqS
— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) February 21, 2018
Drury, 25, hit .267 with 13 home runs and 63 RBIs in 135 games with Arizona last season — his first as a fulltime second baseman, though he came up through the minor-league system as a third baseman. The Diamondbacks have Jake Lamb at third base and multiple candidate to fill the middle infield positions — Ketel Marte, Chris Owings, Nick Ahmed and Daniel Descalso — making Drury expendable.
The Yankees enter spring with top prospect Gleyber Torres penciled in at second base and another prospect, Miguel Andujar, a leading candidate at third.
New York traded All-Star second baseman Starlin Castro to Miami this offseason in the blockbuster deal for slugger Giancarlo Stanton. Chase Headley was sent to San Diego in a cost-cutting swap, and Todd Frazier signed with the crosstown Mets as a free agent.
For Arizona, the deal, on the heels of signing free-agent outfielder Jarrod Dyson, puts Tomas’ future in jeopardy. Tomas hit 31 home runs in 2016 but was limited to eight home runs in 47 games a year ago before undergoing surgery to repair a core muscle. He is owed $46 million over the next three seasons.
OFFICIAL: #Dbacks acquire outfielder Steven Souza Jr. from the Rays.
Welcome to Arizona, @SouzaJr! pic.twitter.com/vhj7j4eOd4
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) February 21, 2018
Banda, a 24-year-old left-hander, was rated as the D-backs’ No. 4 prospect by mlb.com. He pitched in eight games last season and made four starts, registering a 2-3 record and 5.96 ERA in 25 2/3 innings. He was 8-7 with a 5.39 ERA in 22 starts at Triple-A Reno. The 2017 season was something of a step backwards for him, after he went 10-6 with a 2.88 ERA in two levels in 2016.