Please, Lupica. Girardi has no choice but to start Pettitte tonight

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I do my best to avoid Mike Lupica whenever possible, but my buddy Jason alerts me to the latest bit of wisdom from the New York Daily News’ alpha dog:

Joe Girardi knows the deal as well as he knows his way out to the mound. He’s right about using only three starters in the postseason if the Yankees win, tonight or tomorrow night. He’s right if Andy Pettitte does the job in Game 6 on three days’ rest that A.J. Burnett didn’t do Monday night. Or he’s right if this thing plays all the way out and CC Sabathia carries everybody across the finish line. Girardi just better be right about three days’ rest for these guys after being up three games to one.

As most of you know, I’m a lawyer by training and trade, and it’s times like these that I wish I could mix the law and baseball. If I could, I’d put Lupica on the stand and cross examine him:

Lawyer: So, Mr. Lupica, is it your position here today that Mr. Girardi should start Mr. Gaudin — who hasn’t pitched in a month — or, say, Mr. Chamberlain in Game Six of the World Series?

Lupica: [mutters something unintelligible]

Lawyer: I’m sorry, I didn’t hear your answer, could you speak a little louder so the jury and the court reporter can hear your answer?

Lupica: I said, um, no. Pettitte’s a better choice.

Lawyer: So you’d agree with me, then, that Mr. Girardi is making the right decision to start Mr. Pettitte tonight?

Lupica: Yes.

Lawyer: So, if Mr. Pettitte doesn’t perform, it’s not because of Mr. Girardi’s poor decision, is it?  It’s because of something else such as poor roster construction?

Lupica: Yes

Lawyer: Your honor, at this time I think Mr. Lupica may wish to retract his “Girardi had better be right” statement because such rhetoric is clearly not supported by the witness’ own beliefs.

Of course, I suppose it’s possible that Lupica really does think it’s better to start Chad Gaudin. He doesn’t say either way in his article. Which is a shame, because if he said Gaudin was the man, we’d be able to dismiss Lupica as certifiably insane without going through all of this hassle.

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.