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.
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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.
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.
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.