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D-backs get Souza from TB, trade Drury to NYY

Rays receive Solak from Yankees, Banda and 2 PTBNL from Arizona
MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- One day after losing free-agent slugger J.D. Martinez to the Red Sox, the D-backs continued their outfield makeover on Tuesday by acquiring Steven Souza Jr. from the Rays as part of a three-team deal that sent Brandon Drury to the Yankees.

The addition of Souza, along with Monday's signing of Jarrod Dyson, gives the D-backs much-needed depth in their outfield.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- One day after losing free-agent slugger J.D. Martinez to the Red Sox, the D-backs continued their outfield makeover on Tuesday by acquiring Steven Souza Jr. from the Rays as part of a three-team deal that sent Brandon Drury to the Yankees.

The addition of Souza, along with Monday's signing of Jarrod Dyson, gives the D-backs much-needed depth in their outfield.

Trade for Drury could impact Torres, Andujar

In addition to Souza, the D-backs acquired right-hander Taylor Widener, the Yankees' No. 14 prospect. The 23-year-old went 7-8 with a 3.39 ERA in 27 starts for Class A Advanced Tampa. There was a cost, though. In addition to parting with the Bronx-bound Drury, the D-backs sent their No. 4 prospect, left-hander Anthony Banda, and two players to be named to Tampa Bay.

Video: Callis on D-backs acquiring pitching prospect Widener

D-BACKS GET
Steven Souza Jr. (from TB)
Taylor Widener (Yankees No. 22 prospect)

YANKEES GET
Brandon Drury (from ARI)

RAYS GET
Anthony Banda (D-backs No. 4 prospect)
Nick Solak (Yankees No. 8 prospect)
Two players to be named later (from ARI)

Drury became expendable because of Arizona's surplus of middle infielders -- Nick Ahmed, Daniel Descalso, Ketel Marte and Chris Owings -- but the 25-year-old fills a need for New York. He played mainly second base for the D-backs last season, but he can also play third. Drury's ability to play both positions gives the Yankees the flexibility to fill the other slot with either top prospect Gleyber Torres or No. 5 prospect Miguel Andujar. Drury hit .267 with 13 home runs and 63 RBIs in 135 games in 2017.

The Yankees also sent their No. 8 prospect, Nick Solak, to the Rays. The 23-year-old second baseman who hit .297 with 12 home runs and 53 RBIs in 130 games split between Class A Advanced and Double-A Trenton in 2017.

Souza, 28, brings a potent bat with him to Arizona. The right-handed hitter posted a .239/.351/.459 slash line last year, with a 121 OPS+ over 617 plate appearances.

Video: Souza Jr. on chasing a championship with D-backs

Set to make $3.5 million this season, Souza will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2020 season.

Souza played primarily right field for the Rays and figures to do so with the D-backs as well. David Peralta, who has played both left and right field during his time in Arizona, profiles better in left.

A.J. Pollock will start in center, giving the D-backs a strong starting group, and Dyson's ability to play all three outfield spots gives manager Torey Lovullo plenty of opportunities to give guys days off.

What that means for Yasmany Tomas, who missed most of last season due to core injuries, remains to be seen. He will make $10 million this year and has a player option that would pay him $15.5 million in 2019 and $17 million in '20.

Banda, meanwhile, made his big league debut and pitched in eight games for the D-backs last year, including four starts. He recorded a 5.96 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings. Banda was expected to begin this season at Triple-A, but was viewed as someone who could be called on if one of the D-backs' five starters got injured.

Video: Zinkie on fantasy implications of Souza, Drury deal

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)
Owings gains the most value from this deal among those on the D-backs, as he could shift from utility player to starting second baseman. The trade also boosts the value of Souza, who warrants Round 10 consideration in standard-league drafts as he prepares to bring his power-speed blend (30 homers, 16 steals in 2017) to a productive D-backs lineup. Meanwhile, Mallex Smith becomes a late-round steals source who could swipe 35 bases if given 550 plate appearances with the Rays. As for the Yankees, the acquisition of Drury likely eliminates the chance of the club opening the season with both Torres and Andujar in the starting lineup, though one of the two prospects may still have an opportunity to land a spot.

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

New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Arizona Diamondbacks

Darvish impresses teammates with first live BP

Right-hander says he fits in 'naturally with the team'
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

MESA, Ariz. -- Yu Darvish and Kyle Schwarber squared off for the first time since the National League Championship Series during a live batting practice session on Tuesday. In October, Darvish was on the Dodgers, but now he and Schwarber are teammates.

"It definitely reminded me of the NLCS, but he didn't swing," Darvish said of Schwarber, who did not take a swing at any of the five pitches from the right-hander. "I hope to face him again soon in practice games."

MESA, Ariz. -- Yu Darvish and Kyle Schwarber squared off for the first time since the National League Championship Series during a live batting practice session on Tuesday. In October, Darvish was on the Dodgers, but now he and Schwarber are teammates.

"It definitely reminded me of the NLCS, but he didn't swing," Darvish said of Schwarber, who did not take a swing at any of the five pitches from the right-hander. "I hope to face him again soon in practice games."

Actually, only Willson Contreras took a swing during the 25-pitch session. It seemed the Cubs players wanted to see what their new starting pitcher could do. Darvish was OK with that.

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"If [Schwarber] swung, it would probably go over the fence," Darvish said of the Cubs slugger, who hit a solo home run off him in Game 3 of the NLCS last October. "It's a good thing he didn't."

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The right-hander, who signed a six-year deal with the Cubs a week ago, said his new teammates have been very friendly.

"It seems like I fit in naturally with the team," he said.

The Cubs are pretty impressed.

"He's insane," Contreras said, referring to Darvish's pitches. "The movement he has on the baseball, on the breaking balls and the fastball command he has is crazy."

Tweet from @CarrieMuskat: #Cubs hitters waited to give Darvish fist pump after session pic.twitter.com/DgIuIe6Zrw

"It's Feb. 20 -- wow," Cubs manager Joe Maddon of Darvish's first live batting practice. "My impression from the side as an opponent has always been that when he's right on, he has this low fastball with great carry. I walk up and that's all [the hitters] are talking about. Obviously, he's feeling pretty good about himself. His delivery looks clean, the ball was coming out of his hand well.

"I know it's early, I'm certain his adrenaline was flowing a little bit, but he threw the ball great -- great with great conviction," Maddon said. "I'm more of a purist. I looked at the delivery and how the ball was reacting at home plate and it was outstanding."

Video: Maddon discusses Darvish's bullpen session

Obviously, the pitchers have an edge during the live batting practice because they've been in camp longer. Still, Maddon liked what he saw.

"It's just that he's got that low carry working already," Maddon said, before explaining, "Low carry -- when a pitcher is able to start the ball out low in the strike zone, normally as a hitter, you process that it's going to drop more and become a ball. His pitch has the rotation on it so well, it hits that plane and stays on it. Your mind thinks it's going to go below. Guys who are able to do that -- I used to catch Mark Langston and he was like that. There are certain guys who spin it low and keep the plane and those guys are tough."

Even though he did pitch an extra month because of the World Series last year, Darvish said he's treating this Spring Training like any other one. The Cubs will be careful with his Cactus League outings. Contreras has some work to do, too. How will he call seven different pitches?

"I have to figure that out," Contreras said, laughing.

Have any of the Cubs players tried to learn Japanese?

"Not one," Darvish said. "I think [former Cubs infielder Munenori] Kawasaki got them too tired learning Japanese."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Yu Darvish

All clubs to don Douglas caps for ST openers

MLB.com @_dadler

All 30 Major League teams will wear Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School baseball caps before their Spring Training games this weekend to show support for the Parkland, Fla., community and the Stoneman Douglas student body after the tragic shooting at the school on Feb. 14.

Players across MLB will then be signing the caps and auctioning them to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which will benefit the official Stoneman Douglas Victims' Fund. Seventeen people were killed in the shooting, including 14 students and three staff members.

All 30 Major League teams will wear Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School baseball caps before their Spring Training games this weekend to show support for the Parkland, Fla., community and the Stoneman Douglas student body after the tragic shooting at the school on Feb. 14.

Players across MLB will then be signing the caps and auctioning them to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which will benefit the official Stoneman Douglas Victims' Fund. Seventeen people were killed in the shooting, including 14 students and three staff members.

"It's a tragedy. It was a tragedy that hit the state of Florida, where we have two teams, but obviously has very specific baseball connections," Commissioner Rob Manfred said. "Really a very strong sentiment among the clubs that this was the appropriate thing to do immediately."

MLB teams will wear the caps pregame on Friday and will also be allowed to wear them during their games. Since they're off on Friday, the Royals and Rangers will don the hats on Saturday.

The Commissioner approved the use of the caps during all games on Friday, the Spring Training openers for most of the clubs.

The effort started with a few Grapefruit League teams, which wanted to wear the caps pregame, and it quickly spread across camps in Florida and Arizona. Soon all 30 teams had decided to join in the support and fundraising effort for the school community.

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo attended Stoneman Douglas, and spoke at a prayer vigil at Pine Trails Park the day after the shooting. 

"It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do," Rizzo said Monday about meeting with families of the victims of the shooting. "You don't know what to say, there's nothing you can say. When people get shot, you're grateful they're alive. When they pass away, you're grateful you knew them. Just to see how real it is, it's sad and it's why I'm so proud of what they're doing back in Parkland and how everyone is coming together. They're going to turn this tragedy into something positive.

"The caps made for the fundraising effort will be provided to all players, coaches and umpires."

The Stoneman Douglas High School caps are reminiscent of how the Mets wore NYPD and FDNY caps following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. The Mets donned the caps to honor the first responders in their first game after the attacks, in Pittsburgh on Sept. 17, and again in their return to New York four days later. In that memorable game at Shea Stadium, Mike Piazza hit the go-ahead home run in the eighth inning to lead the Mets to an emotional win over the Braves.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.

McCutchen takes Bumgarner deep in BP

MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Though Cactus League games haven't begun, Andrew McCutchen looked ready for what lies beyond: the regular season.

The Giants scheduled their first session of live batting practice Tuesday, and McCutchen celebrated the occasion by clobbering a home run off Madison Bumgarner and crushing a wall ball off Andrew Suarez.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Though Cactus League games haven't begun, Andrew McCutchen looked ready for what lies beyond: the regular season.

The Giants scheduled their first session of live batting practice Tuesday, and McCutchen celebrated the occasion by clobbering a home run off Madison Bumgarner and crushing a wall ball off Andrew Suarez.

Spring Training information

Following the drive off Bumgarner, catcher Buster Posey nudged McCutchen out of the batter's box, half-playfully and half-seriously, as if to prevent an ensuing knockdown pitch from the big left-hander.

"I never understand how guys can do that in the first live BP," Posey said, referring to McCutchen's display. "He's got as quick of hips and hands as anybody I've ever seen."

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McCutchen owns a .136 regular-season batting average (3-for-22) off Bumgarner. So his batting-practice clout prompted a modest reaction.

"I don't think I really got too many of those," McCutchen said.

Asked whether he'd consider consulting Bumgarner for advice regarding how opposing pitchers set him up, McCutchen replied it simply wasn't his style.

"At the end of the day, I know what I need to do," the .291 career hitter said. "I know, regardless of who it is, the adjustments I need to make. I don't necessarily [ask pitchers about himself] because I know myself more than anything. A lot of people like to say it's the guy who got you out. No, I look at it as you get yourself out. When you get out, you know what you did wrong."

• Giants manager Bruce Bochy said that his thoughts and prayers would remain with Orlando Cepeda, the Giants legend and Hall of Famer who was hospitalized late Monday night.

"I'm sorry to hear it," Bochy said. "He comes here for our Hall of Fame get-togethers, he's in the clubhouse, he has fun with the players."

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

San Francisco Giants, Madison Bumgarner, Andrew McCutchen

Carson-Newman's Charlie Brown made a perfect throw from right field to end the game

When you hear the name "Charlie Brown," you don't normally think about baseball success. However, the similarly named right fielder for the Carson-Newman University Eagles is trying to flip the script.

On Monday, the Eagles were clinging to a slim 7-6 lead at home against Northwood. They had two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but the Timberwolves had already scored twice in the inning off reliever Will Gardner and had pinch-runner Miles Hardy in scoring position. The next batter was Michael Karam, and he lined a single to Charlie Brown in right.

Injury updates: Murphy, Conforto, A. Sanchez

MLB.com @_dadler

Spring Training is underway -- and just as important as the players taking the field in Arizona and Florida are the ones who are in the process of making their way back to it.

Key players for teams across the Majors are recovering from injuries, and updates on their statuses are rolling in from camp Tuesday.

Spring Training is underway -- and just as important as the players taking the field in Arizona and Florida are the ones who are in the process of making their way back to it.

Key players for teams across the Majors are recovering from injuries, and updates on their statuses are rolling in from camp Tuesday.

The following are health-related notes you should know about from today's Spring Training action, as compiled by MLB.com's team reporters and contributors.

Murphy limited but still hopeful for Opening Day
Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy wasn't able to participate in the team's first full-squad workout for position players on Tuesday. But he continues to be optimistic that he can hit his goal of being ready for the start of the season.

Murphy hasn't been able to hit for the last several months as he recovers from the debridement and microfracture surgery he underwent on his right knee after the Nationals' season ended. He couldn't take part in Tuesday's live batting practice session, MLB.com's Jamal Collier reported.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"You see these guys bouncing around and playing, you want to participate and be playing with your teammates," Murphy said Tuesday. "But I think it's the understanding of when the training staff lets me go and it's time to play, you only want to come off the DL once. I don't want to start playing games and then have to stop."

Murphy's baseball activities are still limited to fielding grounders from his knees, playing some catch and running on the treadmill with about 60 percent weight-bearing on his knee. Still, he said he's happy with his progress so far and knows he has to be patient. Collier reports Murphy is no longer using the crutches he had at Nationals WinterFest in December. He still feels some slight discomfort in his knee but has full range of motion.

"I'm more concerned about rushing him and him not being fully ready," Washington manager Dave Martinez said. "When we get him back, we don't want him to go back on the DL, we want to get him back for the whole season."

Martinez said last week that Murphy is still on track to return by Opening Day -- for the Nationals, March 29 in Cincinnati. The Nats plan to first slowly incorporate Murphy into Spring Training games.

Mets won't rush Conforto back
Michael Conforto is eager to get back on the field after shoulder surgery prematurely ended his 2017 season, but he and the Mets want to make sure there's as little risk of re-injury as possible before giving him the green light.

Conforto addressed his recovery on Tuesday, saying, "The timetable is fluid." Mets general manager Sandy Alderson has targeted May 1 as a return date for the 24-year-old outfielder.

"My energy is channeled into my rehab," Conforto said Tuesday, as MLB.com's Anthony DiComo reported. "Every rep gets me a little bit closer to getting back out on the field. As long as I keep that fire, I think that's what's going to get me out there and be successful and be healthy."

Video: Conforto gives update on rehab progress

DiComo reports that Conforto started swinging off a tee this weekend, the latest step in his recovery process after he spent most of the offseason logging two hours of physical therapy daily.

"I want to make sure that when he's back, he's back," new Mets manager Mickey Callaway said Tuesday. "We want him to just go through his rehab routine, make sure we communicate with him along the way how he's feeling. Players always tell you they feel better than they probably are, so we're going to be aware of that. But we want him back and when he's ready, he's there for the rest of the season."

Conforto was an All-Star in 2017 and was the Mets' best hitter until he dislocated his left shoulder on a swing during a game on Aug. 24. Testing revealed a capsule tear and Conforto underwent surgery -- a choice which, according to team physician Dr. David Altchek, vastly reduces the odds that Conforto will dislocate the shoulder again.

All signs "positive" for Sanchez
Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez threw his first batting practice of the spring on Tuesday, and he showed no signs of the injuries that cost him most of the 2017 season.

Sanchez battled recurring blister issues on his pitching hand all year, and made just eight starts a year after his All-Star breakout in 2016. But he looked good throwing to a group of Blue Jays hitters including Kendrys Morales, Steve Pearce, Justin Smoak and Josh Donaldson at the team's facility in Florida, as MLB.com contributor J. Scott Butherus reported.

"In terms of how I felt and the ball coming out of my hand, there were no issues," Sanchez said. "I felt like the action was really good. My command was really good. No issues with the finger, which is a huge plus. Arm felt good. Body felt good. All signs were positive."

Video: Sanchez on recovery from his blister injury

The 25-year-old hadn't faced hitters since July. But he reported to camp early and said Tuesday that he now feels like he's ahead of schedule.

Manager John Gibbons said that Sanchez "really looked like midseason form, and that's exciting to see. Everything came out nice and easy and really locked in. I didn't expect to see him that good."

Marisnick back from thumb injury
Astros center fielder Jake Marisnick had to watch from the sidelines with a fractured thumb as Houston won its first World Series, so he's been especially eager to get back on the field as Spring Training begins.

On Tuesday, he did just that. Marisnick faced live pitching for the first time in nearly seven months, MLB.com contributor Glenn Sattell reported, and said that his thumb -- which he fractured Sept. 13 -- is now 100 percent healthy.

"It feels good to get back in there," Marisnick said Tuesday. "It takes a couple of rounds of it and you're good to go. It's been a long time since I've been able to step on the field. So I'm excited to get camp going. I'm excited to be able to run around the field, take some swings."

Video: WSH@HOU: Marisnick mashes solo homer to right-center

The 26-year-old was having a career year before the injury, with a personal-best 16 home runs and .815 OPS thanks to a retooled swing that helped him lift the ball with more regularity. Marisnick said Tuesday that he hasn't lost that new swing even with the long layoff, and now it's just a matter of getting his timing back with more reps in the batter's box.

"I've been hitting a lot," Marisnick said. "Hitting is all about timing. It's something that comes with repetition. Obviously, I'm a little bit off on timing, as is everybody here, for not seeing a pitch in a while."

Lewis sidelined after minor knee surgery; No firm timetable for Erasmo
Mariners top prospect Kyle Lewis, ranked the No. 70 overall prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline entering the 2018 season, had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee about a week and a half ago, MLB.com's Greg Johns reported Tuesday.

Lewis is not expected to return to the field until the end of April. The 22-year-old outfielder is not yet at the team's Minor League mini-camp, but he will report on Thursday. General manager Jerry Dipoto said the club should know more then.

Lewis has had ongoing issues with his knee after major surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and medial and lateral meniscus following a 2016 home-plate collision. The Mariners are hoping this cleanup procedure will alleviate those issues.

"There was kind of a floating piece of bone that was pinching off or creating a problem," Dipoto said Tuesday. "It explains why he was having so much pain. Hopefully we are able finally to determine the source of the irritation and move forward in a productive way."

Dipoto also addressed right-hander Erasmo Ramirez's status. The 27-year-old was diagnosed with a strained right lat muscle on Sunday, and Dipoto said Tuesday that the Mariners aren't certain that Ramirez will be ready for the start of the season. For now, Ramirez has been shut down for two weeks, and the best-case scenario is he can start throwing after that.

Video: Jerry Dipoto discusses Erasmo Ramirez's lat injury

"Hopefully we caught this one early enough that it's short to mid-term," Dipoto said. "We don't know yet. We're hoping in two weeks we get a thumbs-up and he's ready to roll. But that's not a slam dunk. Then we have to take it day by day."

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.

Michael Conforto, Jake Marisnick, Daniel Murphy, Erasmo Ramirez, Aaron Sanchez

Spring into action: D-backs set to host ASU

No. 3 prospect Clarke to take mound against Sun Devils
MLB.com

The Grapefruit and Cactus League exhibition slates don't begin until Friday, but there will be Major Leaguers in action Wednesday as the D-backs host Arizona State University.

The exhibition is scheduled for 3:10 p.m. ET at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

View Full Game Coverage

The Grapefruit and Cactus League exhibition slates don't begin until Friday, but there will be Major Leaguers in action Wednesday as the D-backs host Arizona State University.

The exhibition is scheduled for 3:10 p.m. ET at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

View Full Game Coverage

Right-hander Taylor Clarke will start for the D-backs. The 24-year-old was Arizona's third-round Draft pick in 2015 and is the club's No. 3 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

Spring Training info | Tickets | Schedule

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

The D-backs held their first full-squad workout Monday, and position players faced pitchers in batting practice Tuesday. They begin Cactus League play Friday against the Rockies at their shared Spring Training facility.

Both the D-backs and Rockies will wear Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School baseball caps Friday in a league-wide show of support for the Parkland, Fla., community after the tragic shooting at the school on Feb. 14. Players will sign the caps and auction them, with proceeds going toward the Broward Education Fund, which benefits the official Stoneman Douglas Victims' Fund.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Padres' bright future attracted Hosmer

Direction of franchise was important factor in 1B signing 8-year deal
MLB.com @AJCassavell

PEORIA, Ariz. -- On the back fields of the Peoria Sports Complex on Tuesday morning, Padres staff prepped for the first full-squad workout of 2018. In the nearby Colonnade room at Peoria Stadium, Eric Hosmer buttoned his home jersey and donned a Padres cap for the first time.

San Diego's 144-million-dollar man had arrived -- and just in time for the start of camp.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- On the back fields of the Peoria Sports Complex on Tuesday morning, Padres staff prepped for the first full-squad workout of 2018. In the nearby Colonnade room at Peoria Stadium, Eric Hosmer buttoned his home jersey and donned a Padres cap for the first time.

San Diego's 144-million-dollar man had arrived -- and just in time for the start of camp.

Spring Training information

The club formally introduced Hosmer on Tuesday morning, a day after the two parties put the finishing touches on a franchise-record eight-year contract. Hosmer spoke with the media for half an hour and got straight to work after that, taking grounders alongside his new teammates.

Video: Getting to know new Padre Eric Hosmer

"Ultimately it came down to waiting and figuring out what the best fit was," Hosmer said. "I'm here and doing a press conference on the first day of Spring Training. ... I'm happy to get a deal done, talk to you guys and go play some baseball."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

The scene is a new one for Hosmer, who spent his first 10 professional seasons in the Royals organization. There, he won a World Series, two American League pennants and four Gold Glove Awards, while amassing a .284/.342/.439 slash line and 127 homers.

Hosmer has already helped bring an elusive World Series to one title-starved franchise. The Padres, he says, are on the same path.

"I just saw the direction the organization was going," Hosmer said. "I saw the people at the top of the mountain who were leading the organization. I bought into what they're trying to do here."

Video: 12:25 Live: Hosmer's bat will have impact on Padres

Hosmer's contract is worth $144 million with $105 million due before his opt-out after the 2022 season. It's easily the largest guarantee in Padres history, surpassing Wil Myers' contract by $61 million and more than doubling James Shields' record free-agent deal.

The reason for the commitment? Hosmer is viewed as the turning point for a franchise headed toward annual contention. At 28, Hosmer was the youngest major free agent available, and the Padres believe his prime will mesh perfectly with the arrival of their talented youngsters.

Already, Myers, Austin Hedges, Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe are under team control through 2022. The Padres also own one of the game's elite farm systems, featuring six of MLB Pipeline's Top 50 prospects.

"In terms of the term and the length, that was what was really attractive about Eric," said Padres general manager A.J. Preller. "He's a 28-year-old free agent. Ultimately, we're looking at a guy that is going to bridge the current group and the future groups. ... He's going to be a stabilizing force for us. He's a pillar in the ground."

Video: Preller on excitement over Padres signing Hosmer

Added Padres manager Andy Green: "We feel great about where we are and having him in the fold. ... He fits in perfectly."

The Hosmer deal was made with one eye on the future. Any success for the Padres in 2018 would be considered ahead of schedule. That's where Hosmer's career trajectory comes into play.

"If it wasn't Eric, with all the qualities he has, I don't know that we'd have done this this year," said Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler. "But this guy checked every box. He's a good player, a leader in the clubhouse, has a lot of qualities that A.J. and Andy wanted. ... This guy was maybe the one guy that we were prepared to go after a year or two early. That's how good we think he is."

In San Diego, Hosmer will wear No. 30, a way to honor former teammate Yordano Ventura, who passed away tragically last offseason. (Hosmer's old number, 35, is retired in San Diego for legendary left-hander Randy Jones.) On Tuesday, Hosmer spoke of his desire to carry on Ventura's legacy, and he spoke lovingly about his seven seasons in Kansas City.

Video: Hosmer honors the late Ventura by wearing No. 30

But for all his success there, Hosmer has made a few memories in San Diego, too. He earned All-Star Game MVP honors in 2016, and last spring, he starred at the World Baseball Classic. Hosmer was asked what he likes so much about playing in Petco Park.

"I think Petco Park likes me," he joked. "Every time I go there, it seems to work out."

It's his home office now. Over the next eight years, he'll undoubtedly make a few more memories in San Diego's East Village.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, Eric Hosmer

Manfred talks pace of play, rebuilding clubs

MLB.com @RichardJustice

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said pace of play changes began with a basic understanding.

"Pace of game is a fan issue," Manfred said Tuesday at Cactus League media day. "Our research tells us that it's a fan issue. Our broadcast partners tell us it's a fan issue. Independent research that our broadcast partners do confirm the fact that it is a fan issue.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said pace of play changes began with a basic understanding.

"Pace of game is a fan issue," Manfred said Tuesday at Cactus League media day. "Our research tells us that it's a fan issue. Our broadcast partners tell us it's a fan issue. Independent research that our broadcast partners do confirm the fact that it is a fan issue.

"Because it's a fan issue at the end of the day, I hope it's an issue we'll be able to find common ground with all the constituents in the game moving forward because it is, after all, the fans that make the engine known as Major League Baseball run. They are our most important constituency."

Manfred began this offseason with the idea of working with the Major League Baseball Players Association to potentially implement a pitch clock as a way to reduce dead time.

After the players association pushed back against the idea of a pitch clock, a set of rule changes were agreed upon with the MLBPA that include limiting the number of visits to the mound to six and cuts the time between innings.

"We went the extra mile, maybe the extra two miles, in an effort to make sure that we not only received but took into account player input before we decided on pace of game changes that we're going to make for this year," he said.

"I know there's been some confusion about this, but I want to be clear: We reached an understanding with the Major League Baseball Players Association, the certified representative of our players, as to what was going to happen on the pace of game changes for 2018.

"It is true that under the basic agreement, which we also negotiated with the MLBPA, we had the option of proceeding unilaterally on a number of other changes -- two types of clock [pitch clock and batter's box]. We did not proceed with any of the rule changes we had the right to proceed with unilaterally. Instead, we reached an understanding with our players."

Every issue, including the pitch clock, will be revisited after the 2018 season. Manfred is hopeful that these changes could make a difference because the players also want a quicker pace.

He acknowledged that there could be some "shakeout period" as exists with most new rules.

"We have very intelligent, athletic people playing our game, and they're capable of adjusting whatever the rules are," he said.

And there could be additional changes in 2019.

"Going forward, we will continue to focus on this issue because we think it's important for fans, and we will continue to try and work with the MLBPA and the players on solutions that are effective in terms of giving us a crisp and quick game," Manfred said. "I think it's really a dead-time issue, taking out those parts of the game where our fans routinely comment there's a lack of action.

"Part of my thinking in moving forward more slowly, not going ahead and implementing some of the changes, was publicly and privately players admitted that pace of game was an issue and it was an issue we needed to improve on.

"I thought given that public recognition, it was prudent to proceed in a more limited manner to see how we do in 2018 with this more limited set of changes. Part of our understanding with the MLBPA is we reserved our rights to proceed on the clocks in 2019. I'm hopeful we'll see progress this year, and maybe more important, we'll have dialogue with the players."

Touching on a number of other issues, Manfred spoke on:

Rebuilding teams

"I don't buy into the concept that when a club adopts a strategy of rebuilding that that should be characterized as tanking," he said. "I think that our clubs -- all of them -- want to win. That's why owners own. The question is, 'What strategy are they going to adopt over what period of time to put themselves in position to win?"

"I actually went back and did a little research. If you look at the newspaper articles of a year ago, you will find articles saying that Arizona, Colorado, Milwaukee and Minnesota all did not do enough during the offseason to try to win. To refresh your recollection, three out of those four teams made it to the postseason, and another one [Milwaukee] was in the hunt all the way to September.

"My point is this: It is not always transparent to outsiders what the plan is for winning and what the timetable is for winning. We've always had a cyclical sport. Clubs have gone through cycles in an effort to be competitive. I suspect if and when, together with the MLBPA, we reached a conclusion that this is an issue that needs to be addressed, it'll be addressed in collective bargaining. I can tell you that in the last round of bargaining, this was not a major issue."

The free agent market

"We're glad that in the last few days we've seen a number of important signings in the free-agent market," Manfred said. "At the end of the day, we want players signed. We want the best players playing the game. That's always our goal.

"I guess I would just make a couple of points about the recent activity. First, market activities, by definition, is bilateral. Right? Club makes an offer, and in order to have a deal, the agent or the player has to accept that offer.

"For a number of weeks, I've been saying publicly that there are press reports out there about offers. We were aware of those press reports, and I think the recent activity shows that those press reports were accurate.

"Some of the delay in the market was related to players taking their time making a decision as to whether they were going to accept those offers. There's nothing wrong with that. It's the player's right to hold out as long as they want to get the best possible deal.

"But in evaluating what's going on out there, I think it's important to remember that it does take two parties to make an agreement."

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.

Phillies, Arrieta having discussions

MLB.com

Perhaps the best option remaining on the free-agent pitching market is Jake Arrieta, the 2015 National League Cy Young Award winner.

Phillies talking with Arrieta
The Phillies, who already made one splash signing this offseason in bringing in first baseman Carlos Santana, might be trying to add another.

Perhaps the best option remaining on the free-agent pitching market is Jake Arrieta, the 2015 National League Cy Young Award winner.

Phillies talking with Arrieta
The Phillies, who already made one splash signing this offseason in bringing in first baseman Carlos Santana, might be trying to add another.

Philadelphia and Jake Arrieta "are having dialogue" about a potential deal, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

Heyman notes that Phillies president Andy MacPhail, general manager Matt Klentak and director of player development Joe Jordan "love [Arrieta] from their days in Baltimore together."

Arrieta, 31, went 20-25 with a 5.46 ERA in 69 games (63 starts) for the Orioles to begin his career, but since a trade to the Cubs in 2013, he is 68-31 with a 2.73 ERA in 128 starts. He was named the National League Cy Young Award winner in 2015, when he went 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA in a career-high 33 starts and 229 innings.

The veteran right-hander has been known to be seeking a long-term contract, but according to Heyman, the Phillies "would prefer a shorter term" deal. "So there's a gap," Heyman added.

Arrieta could be seeking an offer close to the six-year, $126 million deal Yu Darvish recently signed with the Cubs. -- This report was first posted on Feb. 20.

Heyman sees Arrieta's best fit to be Brewers
The Brewers have already taken aggressive measures to bolster a roster that last year finished just one game shy of the postseason, yet their most glaring personnel deficiency -- a need for at least one top-of-the-rotation arm -- remains unaddressed. For this, and with the division-rival Cubs' signing Yu Darvish, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman predicts in a post for FanRag Sports that Arrieta's most suitable landing spot is Milwaukee.

:: Free agent buzz ::

The Brewers have already added free agent Jhoulys Chacin to complement the Opening Day rotation with Chase Anderson and Zach Davies. Jimmy Nelson, who enjoyed a breakout year in 2017 before undergoing shoulder surgery, is not expected until some time later in the first half as he returns from injury. Manager Craig Counsell said the club's current plan is to have a group of Brandon Woodruff, Brent Suter, Yovani Gallardo, Junior Guerra and Aaron Wilkerson compete for the remaining starts. Even with Nelson's return, the current contingent is projected 15th in FanGraphs WAR at the position -- well behind the Cubs and Cardinals, who the Brewers will be chasing in the National League Central.

Couple their needs at the position and owner Mark Attanasio's comments at Fanfest last month indicating that the club had financial flexibility to add to it, and a union with Arrieta appears a strong fit. The Brewers finished with an MLB-low $63 million in payroll in 2017.

"We could sign a big pitcher. If the right situation comes along, we can take advantage of that," Attanasio said.

For all of these reasons, Heyman speculates Arrieta will (eventually) sign with the Brewers. He also notes the Nationals, Phillies, Cardinals and Twins -- each of whom have been linked to Arrieta -- as other potential landing spots, but not to as strong of an extent as Milwaukee. -- This report was first posted on Feb. 15.

Arrieta market may be down to Brewers, Twins
Now that Yu Darvish has agreed to a deal with the Cubs, the free-agent picture for Arrieta is starting to crystallize. The Brewers and Twins, two teams previously linked to Darvish, now appear to be two of the favorites to land Arrieta, according to a report from MLB Network insider Jon Heyman on Sunday night. The Nationals, Phillies and Cardinals are also possible destinations for Arrieta, according to Heyman.

Per Heyman, the Brewers could be the most logical fit, and Milwaukee has "been in touch" with Arrieta. The Brewers have made some big splashes already this offseason, signing Lorenzo Cain and trading for Christian Yelich, but ace Jimmy Nelson is recovering from right shoulder surgery and their rotation could use a boost, especially if they want to keep pace with the improved Cubs.

The Nationals, meanwhile, are looking to make a deep postseason run, and Arrieta could take an already strong rotation to the next level. General manager Mike Rizzo reportedly loves the idea of adding someone like Arrieta, but Washington is also concerned with remaining below the luxury-tax threshold.

The Phillies are an up-and-coming young team, but they've also already signed Carlos Santana and could look to bolster their pitching staff, too. As Heyman notes, Phillies president Andy MacPhail, general manager Matt Klentak and director of player development Joe Jordan were all Orioles executives when Baltimore drafted Arrieta.

Video: Do Nationals make sense as a destination for Arrieta

According to Heyman, the Twins had appeared to favor Darvish and were focused on him, so an Arrieta-Twins pact might come as a surprise. But they do need pitching with Ervin Santana set to miss time while recovering from right middle finger surgery; the best fit might just be someone like Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb instead of Arrieta.

Looking to get back to the postseason amid a competitive NL Central, St. Louis can afford Arrieta, but improving its bullpen has been a higher priority than its rotation. Addressing that need, the club has reached a deal with free-agent reliever Bud Norris, a source told MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal on Monday morning. -- This report was first posted on Feb. 12.

Nationals remain possible Arrieta destination
The Nationals have emerged as a suitor for some of the remaining free-agent starters on the market, including Arrieta, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.

Right-hander A.J. Cole currently projects as Washington's No. 5 starter, but he's yet to pitch a full season in the big leagues. The 26-year-old has totaled 99 2/3 innings through 22 appearances with the Nationals over the last three seasons. Cole impressed with a strong finish in 2017, posting a 3.00 ERA through his final eight games. He's out of options, so if he doesn't make the Opening Day roster, the Nationals could lose him on waivers.

Washington's No. 4 prospect Erick Fedde and veteran Edwin Jackson are also in the mix for the final rotation spot. General manager Mike Rizzo has said he's comfortable with the team's in-house options for the role.

The Nationals previously expressed interest in Arrieta at the Winter Meetings, per MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. Arrieta's agent, Scott Boras, has ties to the organization. He represents three of Washington's current rotation members -- Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez -- as well as Nats star Bryce Harper, who's entering a contract year. -- This report was first posted on Feb. 11.

Hot Stove Tracker

Teams interested in "high-salary/short-term" deal
Should Arrieta reach a stage where he feels a long-term deal may not be in sight, perhaps not at the dollar value or length he seeks, the right-hander may have a breadth of job opportunities available. There are multiple teams "very interested" in discussing a high-salary deal with Arrieta, but on a shorter term, according to a report by ESPN's Buster Olney.

Arrieta has been linked to the Twins, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, Phillies and Nationals, though none of those reports have manifested into anything that indicates a deal is even close to culminating.

Though he has shown flashes as one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball as recently as just three seasons ago, advanced metrics, a noticeable dip in velocity and less command of the strike zone all suggested that Arrieta possesses some potential long-term question marks. Those concerns may have prompted prospective suitors to temper their pursuit of a long-term deal with Arrieta, who was widely considered to land one of the most lucrative contracts as recently as just a year or two ago.

Though he is just five months older than Darvish and hasn't undergone major surgery like the Tommy John procedure Darvish underwent in 2015, Arrieta's market has been far more stagnant this winter, at least in the public realm. The Cubs showed far more interest in Darvish before agreeing to a five-year deal with the free-agent righty, which led USA Today's Bob Nightengale to speculate on a red flag relating to Arrieta -- essentially, if the Cubs, who nurtured Arrieta into one of the best pitchers in the game, were more interested in an external option, "What do the Cubs know about him that the rest of baseball doesn't?" -- This report was first posted on Feb. 9.

Arrieta appears ready to hold out for right deal
Arrieta, who is entering his age-32 season and is just two years removed from a historic season in 2015, finished the 2017 campaign with a 3.53 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in 30 starts. He was among the most significant pieces of a multiyear Cubs rebuild that culminated with a championship in '16, and he has been linked to several clubs this offseason.

In January, USA Today reported that the Cubs would be willing to bring Arrieta back on a four-year, $110 million deal, though it's believed that the right-hander is seeking a longer deal and Chicago has since added Yu Darvish. The Brewers, who have fortified their lineup but are still in need of a top-of-the-rotation starter, are believed to have made a similar offer in length. CBS Chicago's Bruce Levine reported in early January that the Cardinals have also shown interest in Arrieta.

Levine reported in November that the starting point for negotiations between clubs and Boras were in the six-year, $160 million range. While it seems unlikely that Arrieta will net a contract of that figure, the highly competitive hurler appears to be willing to wait for the right offer.

The standstill market among the most high-profile free agents continues, and it's unclear if the dust will settle before next week, when pitchers and catchers report. -- This report was first posted on Jan. 3.

Jake Arrieta

Trade for Drury could impact Torres, Andujar

New York trades Solak to Tampa Bay, Widener to Arizona
MLB.com @BryanHoch

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees padded their infield depth by acquiring Brandon Drury from the D-backs on Tuesday, part of a three-team trade that could reduce the urgency to begin the season with prospects Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres on the roster.

Drury came at the price of two prospects, with infielder Nick Solak going to the Rays and right-hander Taylor Widener shipped to Arizona. Solak (No. 8) and Widener (No. 14) were listed among New York's Top 15 prospects, according to MLB Pipeline, and both players had been participating in big league camp.

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees padded their infield depth by acquiring Brandon Drury from the D-backs on Tuesday, part of a three-team trade that could reduce the urgency to begin the season with prospects Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres on the roster.

Drury came at the price of two prospects, with infielder Nick Solak going to the Rays and right-hander Taylor Widener shipped to Arizona. Solak (No. 8) and Widener (No. 14) were listed among New York's Top 15 prospects, according to MLB Pipeline, and both players had been participating in big league camp.

Hot Stove Tracker

In addition, outfielder Steven Souza Jr. was traded from Tampa Bay to Arizona, while left-hander Anthony Banda moved from Arizona to Tampa Bay along with two players to be named.

General manager Brian Cashman said on Monday that the Yankees were expecting to host a competition for second and third base, where Andujar and Torres are eyeing spots in the Opening Day lineup. Danny Espinosa, Jace Peterson, Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade are also vying for attention.

Video: Boone excited for potential of Torres and Andujar

Prior to Tuesday's trade, manager Aaron Boone watched Andujar and Torres take grounders on a back diamond of the George M. Steinbrenner Field complex and said that he was "trying to contain my excitement" regarding the duo. Boone added that he believed both would develop into impact Major Leaguers, though perhaps not to open the regular season.

"I feel like if either one of those guys were to be on our Opening Day roster, it would be clear in our eyes, and probably somewhat of a consensus that, 'Hey man, there's no denying that these guys belong on this club,'" Boone said.

Drury's arrival does not necessarily rule out Andujar or Torres beginning the year in the Majors, but the 25-year-old provides a solid and cost-effective option who has played mostly second base, third base and the corner-outfield spots during his three years in the big leagues.

Cashman had been in contact with Arizona regarding Drury since at least the Winter Meetings in December, when the clubs also discussed left-hander Patrick Corbin. Last season, Drury hit .267 with 37 doubles, 13 homers, 63 RBIs and a .764 OPS in 135 games, including 109 starts at second base.

Video: ATL@ARI: Drury puts on defensive clinic at second

Solak, 23, split the 2017 season between Class A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, combining to hit .297/.384/.452 with 26 doubles, 12 homers and 53 RBIs in 130 games. A second-round Draft pick in 2016, Solak led the Florida State League in on-base percentage and OPS (.856) while ranking second in batting average.

Widener, 23, made 27 starts for Tampa in 2017, going 7-8 with a 3.39 ERA and 129 strikeouts. A 12th-round Draft pick in 2016, Widener led the Florida State League in starts, WHIP (1.15), opponents' batting average (.206) and K/9 (9.73), while ranking third in strikeouts and fourth in ERA.

To make room for Drury on the 40-man roster, outfielder Jabari Blash was designated for assignment.

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)

Chris Owings gains the most value from this deal among those on the D-backs, as he could shift from utility player to starting second baseman. The trade also boosts the value of Souza, who warrants Round 10 consideration in standard-league drafts as he prepares to bring his power-speed blend (30 homers, 16 steals in 2017) to a productive D-backs lineup. Meanwhile, Mallex Smith becomes a late-round steals source who could swipe 35 bases if given 550 plate appearances with the Rays this year. As for the Yankees, the acquisition of Drury likely eliminates the chance of the club opening the season with both Torres and Andujar in the starting lineup, though one of the two prospects may still have an opportunity to land a spot.

Video: Zinkie on fantasy implications of Souza, Drury deal

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007.

New York Yankees, Brandon Drury

J.D. deal embraced at Red Sox camp

Martinez not only brings big bat, but also veteran presence to young core
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The official arrival of J.D. Martinez to the Red Sox could come Wednesday, once he passes his physical. The anticipation in the clubhouse for the arrival of this offseason's premier slugger was building by the end of Tuesday's team workout.

For a team with World Series aspirations, the addition of a player who belted 45 homers in just 432 at-bats last season was a thrilling development.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The official arrival of J.D. Martinez to the Red Sox could come Wednesday, once he passes his physical. The anticipation in the clubhouse for the arrival of this offseason's premier slugger was building by the end of Tuesday's team workout.

For a team with World Series aspirations, the addition of a player who belted 45 homers in just 432 at-bats last season was a thrilling development.

Sources: Red Sox have 5-year deal with J.D.

"It's a good bat and at least 40 homers," said Hanley Ramirez. "And we're trying to win this [thing]. This is how we can do it, to get a player like that. We've been together for three or four years training together down in Miami. We have a good relationship. He's a good hitter, and I think he's going to help us a lot."

Video: Look for Martinez to be early-round fantasy option

After finishing last in the American League this past season with 168 homers, the Red Sox now have the type of impact slugger who can instantly change that.

Martinez also represents another veteran presence to help the team's talented young core.

"He's a great player," said Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi. "He's proven himself. I'm just looking forward to getting to know him. I've heard he's helped out young guys throughout his years, so I'll be all ears when he comes in."

The right-handed hitting Martinez should provide the type of impact in the middle of the order the Red Sox badly missed during David Ortiz's first season of retirement last year.

"He's obviously a presence," said Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. "Having that type of presence in the lineup can make a difference and that's what he is; he's a difference-maker."

The Red Sox won the AL East with 93 wins in each of the past two seasons, but also lost both years in the Division Series. They now have the type of big bat that could help lead them to a deep October run.

"He's a force, obviously," said first baseman Mitch Moreland. "To have him kind of anchored in the middle of our lineup is only going to help us.

"It's great having him, obviously," said Bradley. "We look forward to seeing him and welcoming him with open arms, and we can't wait for him to be a part of this unit."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, J.D. Martinez

Boon for Ohtani? Angels lower RF wall

MLB.com @_dadler

The Angels will lower the height of the home run boundary line in right field at Angel Stadium this season, the team announced Tuesday.

The height will be changed from 18 feet -- the top of the high wall in right field -- to eight feet.

The Angels will lower the height of the home run boundary line in right field at Angel Stadium this season, the team announced Tuesday.

The height will be changed from 18 feet -- the top of the high wall in right field -- to eight feet.

"The adjustment to the line in right field will increase the fan experience at Angel Stadium while creating an environment that is equitable for both hitters and pitchers," Angels general manager Billy Eppler said in a statement.

The new home run boundary will be marked by a yellow line that will run along the outfield wall from the right-field side of the outfield gate in right field to the point in center field where the wall angle changes.

Angels vice president of communications Tim Mead told reporters on Tuesday that the change in the home run boundary was due to the installation of a new out-of-town scoreboard at Angel Stadium, as well as "philosophical changes."

While the Angels, of course, are about to begin their first season with left-handed-hitting Shohei Ohtani in their lineup -- who could take advantage of the lower home run height to his pull side -- the change was decided on before the team signed the Japanese two-way phenom.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.

Los Angeles Angels

Kershaw's first live spring BP short but solid

MLB.com @kengurnick