Yankees rejoice: Rays, Crawford end extension talks

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With no agreement in sight, the Rays and Carl Crawford have chosen to halt extension talks until the end of the season, agent Brian Peters told the St. Petersburg Times.
“We had an opportunity to exchange ideas with the club about a contract extension for Carl and it was clear to all of us that an immediate agreement was not going to materialize,” Peters said. “Thus, we all agreed to table discussions until the end of the year.”
Crawford is entering the second and final option year of a deal that’s paid him $33.5 million over six seasons, and barring an agreement prior to the end of the World Series, he’ll become a free agent for the first time at age 29. The speedster has long been viewed as a perfect fit for the Yankees, and it’s been speculated that one of the reasons the Bombers declined to give Johnny Damon a two-year deal this winter was that they had their eyes on Crawford.
That an extension couldn’t be worked out probably won’t put Crawford on the market immediately. The Rays hope to contend this year, and they might have a slight chance of keeping Crawford if they can make it to the postseason for the second time in three years. However, it they fall out of contention early, Crawford’s name will certainly come up at the trade deadline. Since the Rays don’t expect their payroll to expand in 2011 and Crawford is in line for a contract that will pay him $15 million-$18 million per year, it’s pretty unlikely that he’ll remain with the club for the long term.

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.