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Rays even more motivated after Souza trade

Archer: 'As a group in this room, we're not going to cave'
MLB.com @wwchastain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Clearly, many in the Rays' clubhouse were disappointed to see Steven Souza Jr. get traded, but there also seemed to be an growing sense of resolve percolating as well.

"Adversity comes at all of us from many different directions, and we're being tested right now," Kevin Kiermaier said. "And now we'll see who has that 'dog' in them to go out there and do what we do this year. ... We're going to be tested and we're going to see who's here to play and who's not."

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Clearly, many in the Rays' clubhouse were disappointed to see Steven Souza Jr. get traded, but there also seemed to be an growing sense of resolve percolating as well.

"Adversity comes at all of us from many different directions, and we're being tested right now," Kevin Kiermaier said. "And now we'll see who has that 'dog' in them to go out there and do what we do this year. ... We're going to be tested and we're going to see who's here to play and who's not."

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On Tuesday, the Rays traded Souza to the D-backs as part of a three-team deal that returned two prospects and two players to be named.

The Rays received left-hander Anthony Banda, who was the D-backs' No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline, along with second baseman Nick Solak, the Yankees' No. 8 prospect.

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The Yankees received utility man Brandon Drury from the D-backs and sent Minor League right-hander Taylor Widener to Arizona.

Chris Archer admitted that it was "hard to have thoughts right now."

"A lot has happened in the last seven days," Archer said. "Actually, the entire offseason. But a lot has happened the last seven days. I'm just trying to digest it. It's hard to know what we got from the trade. What that's going to pan out to be. I'm still digesting."

The Souza trade followed a busy weekend that saw the Rays acquire first baseman C.J. Cron in a trade with the Angels, receive shortstop prospect Jermaine Palacios from the Twins for right-hander Jake Odorizzi and designate left fielder Corey Dickerson for assignment.

In December, the Rays traded third baseman Evan Longoria to the Giants, receiving infielder Christian Arroyo, outfielder Denard Span and a pair of Minor Leaguers in return.

Video: Cash and Kiermaier discuss roster turnover

"I'll say it again, baseball's a game where anything can happen," Archer said. "I'm hoping that other guys can step up and fill the voids that we're missing. I'm definitely going to be optimistic. I'm going to go out here and give it everything I have and encourage other guys to do the same."

Archer recognized that "on a personal level" the trade was "discouraging."

"But on a professional level, between the lines, we still have a job to do," Archer said. "It's going to be a challenge, but we have a job to do. So I'm going to go out there and do my job. ... And hopefully it's a successful season.

"Tough times reveal true character. Adversity reveals who you really are. ... And it's true. As a group in this room, we're not going to cave. We're going to have some learning to do, but we're not going to cave by any means."

Kiermaier said he was prepared to embrace the underdog role the Rays now find themselves in.

"I've been an underdog my whole life, I'm OK with this," Kiermaier said. "I feel like the Rays, no matter what our roster is, will always be an underdog. It's our job to go out there and prove people wrong and perform and execute. ... I'm going to try and make sure everybody has the right mindset. There's no need to pout."

Kiermaier quoted a motivational saying he'd seen.

"'Tough people last longer than tough times,' something along those lines," Kiermaier said. "And I mean it. This hasn't been an easy start to Spring Training. So we have to move on.

"... I've got a lot to prove, and so does this team. If we go out there and get a consistent performance in execution, we can do a lot of damage."

While the Rays will miss Souza in their lineup, the sentiment that their former teammate was a great person seemed to echo most.

Video: Souza Jr. thankful for his time with Rays

"We realize it's part of the game," Brad Miller said. "You build up relationships with these guys. You spend every waking moment with these guys. I've been lucky we've had a lot of championship players here. Great teammates that we've gotten to go out and battle with.

"I'm happy for Souza. ... Arizona seemed to [really want him]. He's going to do great out there. I have no doubts about that. But it definitely was a shock because I was kind of with him yesterday after he found out. I'm sure it's kind of a whirlwind for him. I always pull for Souza. It's been a lot of fun getting to play with him."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Tampa Bay Rays, Chris Archer, Steven Souza Jr., Kevin Kiermaier