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Souza, D-backs anticipate seamless transition

MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Steven Souza Jr. was not expecting to be traded, but when he heard Tuesday that he was headed to the D-backs, he knew he would have no trouble fitting in.

"I was definitely preparing for the role that I'd have [with Tampa Bay]," Souza said. "This may be one of the teams where I know the most guys on the team. I've known Goldy [Paul Goldschmidt] for a while now, I grew up with Jake Lamb, I came up through the Minor Leagues with Robbie Ray, and I've gotten to know Nick Ahmed a little bit. Great dudes."

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Steven Souza Jr. was not expecting to be traded, but when he heard Tuesday that he was headed to the D-backs, he knew he would have no trouble fitting in.

"I was definitely preparing for the role that I'd have [with Tampa Bay]," Souza said. "This may be one of the teams where I know the most guys on the team. I've known Goldy [Paul Goldschmidt] for a while now, I grew up with Jake Lamb, I came up through the Minor Leagues with Robbie Ray, and I've gotten to know Nick Ahmed a little bit. Great dudes."

Video: Hazen discusses details of the Souza Jr. trade

While the 28-year-old is in some ways replacing free-agent outfielder J.D. Martinez, who signed a five-year deal with the Red Sox, Souza knows that is not something to focus on.

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After all, even Martinez might not have been able to replicate the .302/.366/.741 he hit for the D-backs in 62 games last year.

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"I don't think that anybody has really done those types of things that he did in the second half, so to say that I'm going to come in and try to fill those shoes would be a little bit far-fetched," Souza said. "I'm going to play my game, I'm going to play as hard as I can every single day, and I'm going to help this team win a ballgame."

D-backs general manager Mike Hazen and his staff were not looking strictly at the offensive numbers when it came to Souza.

"We see him very much as a complete player," Hazen said. "He's a good baserunner, he plays really good defensive corner outfield. We feel like he's made a lot of improvements in his game as he's matured into a consistent big leaguer. He certainly fit a specific area [of need] for us."

Video: Souza to D-backs, Drury to Yankees in three-way trade

The D-backs had been talking to the Rays about Souza for well over a month now, and the Yankees were interested in infielder Brandon Drury, so eventually it became a three-team deal.

Giving up lefty prospect Anthony Banda hurts the D-backs because they believe he will be a Major League pitcher one day soon, and he provided them with starting pitching depth for this year.

Video: Callis on D-backs acquiring pitching prospect Widener

Though Souza is the headliner in the deal from Arizona's side of things, right-hander Taylor Widener, who was acquired from the Yankees, was an important piece for the D-backs, especially since along with Banda, they are giving the Rays two players to be named by May 1. Replacing those young pieces is important as Arizona tries to build sustainability going forward.

Widener, who will be a non-roster invitee to camp, made 27 starts for Class A Advanced Tampa last year and was 7-8 with a 3.39 ERA. He pitched for Double-A Trenton in the Eastern League playoffs, allowing two runs in six innings over two relief appearances.

"We certainly like [Widener] and have watched and have scouting reports from last year in the Yankees' system," Hazen said. "We think he has a chance to be a starter at the Major League level. He has good stuff. That was a big part of this deal."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Steven Souza Jr.