It's tough out there for a Rule 5'er

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There were two great stories about Rule 5 draft pics over the weekend.  First comes Tyler Kepner’s profile of Zach Kroenke, a Yankees’ pick from 2005 who has played the Rule 5 game two years running, first being picked by the Marlins last year and now trying to latch on to the Diamondbacks after being left unprotected by New York once again in December. He recalls what happened when the Feesh cut him last spring and he had to go back to Yankees’ minor league camp:

He said his goodbyes to teammates and packed his Marlins duffel bag
for the drive across Florida from Jupiter to Tampa. Kroenke left the
jerseys and pants and warm-up jackets, packed a few other items and
headed on his way.

Not so fast.

“I start walking out and the head clubbie comes running out: ‘Hey,
hey, hold on! You can’t take that bag!’ ” Kroenke said. “He throws down
this black duffel bag and starts pulling stuff out of mine: ‘Sorry, we
got to keep that; sorry, we got to keep that.’ They let me keep a
couple undershirts, and that’s it. It was hilarious. Didn’t get to keep
my hat.”

Baseball is a tough business if you don’t have a safe slot already.

The other one is a Joe Posnanski blog post spending around 2000 words on great moments in Rule 5 pick history. And he doesn’t even get to the fact that Johan Santana and Joakim Soria were Rule 5 pics. He’s saving that for another post. 

Dude can really get a head of steam up when he wants to write about something, can’t he?

Report: Diamondbacks acquire Steven Souza from Rays in part of three-team deal

Tampa Bay Rays
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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.