Cito Gaston has lost the Blue Jays

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We knew the Blue Jays’ front office was a mess, but Ken Rosenthal explains that the clubhouse is no better:

The Blue Jays’ rehiring of manager Cito Gaston last season started out as a feel-good story, a link to the franchise’s back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and ’93.

A mere 15 months later, the mood inside the Jays’ clubhouse has turned decidedly sour.

The players are fed up with Gaston and do not want him to return next season, according to multiple major-league sources.

“It’s nearly a mutiny right now,” one source says. “He has lost the entire team.”

According to Rosenthal, players are complaining about Gaston’s “old-school approach” and lack of communication, and that “certain Jays veterans bristle over reduced playing time.”

Those seem like an odd combination of complaints to me. Usually veterans are the beneficiaries of a manager with an old-school approach. As in they get a lot of undeserved playing time simply because they’re veterans.  Scanning the Jays’ roster, however, doesn’t reveal anyone who should be getting PT but isn’t. At least no glaring examples, and certainly no veterans.  Cito has a mediocre team and he’s deploying it in a more or less reasonable manner in my eyes.

But you still have to communicate to your players. And if the players hate him, even unreasonably so, it doesn’t matter how well he handles playing time.  A manager who doesn’t have his team’s confidence is 100% assured to be an ex-manager, because you can’t just go out and get new players.

Silver lining: it seems inevitable that J.P. Ricciardi is going to be fired. If he is, it will be easier to hire a good replacement G.M. if he’s also going to be allowed to bring in his own field manager rather than be stuck with old Cito.  If I’m running the Jays I fire them both and start fresh.

Report: Diamondbacks acquire Steven Souza from Rays; Yankees land Brandon Drury

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Update (6:35 PM ET): This is a three-team deal also involving the Diamondbacks, per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The Diamondbacks will receive outfielder Steven Souza from the Rays and second baseman Brandon Drury will head to the Yankees. Lefty reliever Anthony Banda will go to the Rays, Piecoro adds. The Diamondbacks will also receive prospect Taylor Widener from the Yankees, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post. MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert adds that the Rays will get two players to be named later from the D-Backs.

Souza, 28, is earning $3.55 million in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility, so the Rays are presumably saving money in moving him. Last season, Souza hit a productive .239/.351/.459 with 30 home runs, 78 RBI, 78 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 617 plate appearances. Souza’s arrival almost certainly pushes Yasmany Tomas out of a starting gig.

Drury, 25, has played a handful of positions in his brief major league career. Last year, he played second base in Arizona, batting .267/.317/.447 with 13 home runs and 63 RBI in 480 PA.

Banda, 24, made his major league debut last season, posting an ugly 5.96 ERA with a 25/10 K/BB ratio in 25 2/3 innings. The peripherals suggest he pitched better than his ERA indicated.

Widener, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the 12th round of the 2016 draft. This past season with High-A Tampa, he pitched 119 1/3 innings and posted a 3.39 ERA with a 129/50 K/BB ratio. MLB Pipeline rated Widener as the 14th-best prospect in the Yankees’ system.

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Robert Murray of FanRag Sports reports that the Rays will acquire second base prospect Nick Solak from the Yankees. The Yankees’ return is presently not known.

Solak, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the second round of the 2016 draft. He spent last season between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, hitting a combined .297/.384/.452 with 12 home runs, 53 RBI, 72 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases.

MLB Pipeline ranked Solak as the eighth-best prospect in the Yankees’ system and the fifth-best second base prospect in baseball, praising him for his ability to hit line drives as well as his speed.