TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees general manager Brian Cashman had D-backs infielder Brandon Drury on his radar for years. He was finally able to get his target, obtaining Drury on Tuesday in a three-way trade that also included the Rays.
"He is someone I think the industry has valued for a while because I know we have," Cashman said.
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After hearing rave reviews regarding Drury from new Yankees third-base coach Phil Nevin, who coached in Arizona from 2014-16, Cashman ramped up discussions with D-backs GM Mike Hazen during the Winter Meetings. Once Hazen brought the Rays into the discussion about 10 days ago, the trade came together quickly.
As part of that deal, the D-backs received outfielder Steven Souza Jr. and Yankees pitching prospect Taylor Widener. The Rays received Yankees infielder Nick Solak, New York's No. 8 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, pitcher Anthony Banda, Arizona's No. 4 overall prospect, and a pair of players to be named.
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Drury was expected to arrive at Yankees camp Wednesday.
Cashman was extremely high on the prospects that he ended up having to part with, noting that he had previous talks with the Rays -- along with "about 10 to 15 other teams" -- regarding Solak.
"We gave up two players that we really liked," Cashman said. "I think both of these players have a lot of upside."
The 25-year-old Drury batted .267 with 13 homers and 63 RBIs in 135 games last season as the D-backs' primary second baseman. He has also logged time at third and in the corner outfield positions over his three seasons.
"Hopefully he is one of those guys we can help take another step and make even more of an impact than he has already been," manager Aaron Boone said.
In three years in Arizona, Drury compiled a .271 average with 31 home runs in 289 games. Drury has shown the ability to drive the ball to all fields, as he has proven with 68 doubles over the past two seasons, and can hit against both lefties and righties (.271 vs. .266). A jump in power numbers is likely as he continues to fill out his 6-foot-2, 210-pound frame and continues to improve on his average exit velocity (87.9 in 2017) for a third consecutive year.
"We believe there is some more gas in that tank," Cashman said. "Our pro scouts are really high on his potential to dream on a little bit, so we are going to dream on a little bit. At the very least, we are happy with where he is at and what he is capable of."
"I think there is power in there, which he has already shown at the big league level," Boone said. "But I think his athleticism will allow him to potentially take another step. This is a guy that has had success already, but hasn't had a regular role and I think he has that opportunity here."
Cashman said the initial plan is to use Drury at third base, where he played throughout the Minors, but because of his versatility and athleticism, plus what he could potentially do offensively, the Yankees would like to get him in to the lineup however they can.
"This guy has the ability to be more than just a quality everyday player," Cashman said. "He's got a lot of potential. He's established himself as a quality Major Leaguer and I know he has dreams to be even more."
Whether Drury sees more time at either second or third could also depend on the spring performances of rookies Gleyber Torres, who was an early camp favorite to win the keystone job, and Miguel Andujar, who was in line to take over at the hot corner. Torres, the team's No. 1 overall prospect, batted .309 in 23 games at Triple-A last season. Despite the addition of Drury, the team remains high on the 22-year-old Andujar after he hit .315 with 16 homers and 82 RBIs in 125 games over two Minor League stops last season.
"It just adds to the competition," Boone said. "It adds to the depth of competition that we want to create with our infield this spring. Nothing changes as far as Miguel Andujar is concerned for us. He's still going to have opportunities. There's still a level of competition still going on and I still feel great about the player."