Great Moments in Independent League promotions

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You see this kind of stuff from independent and low-minor league teams all the time: an offer to sign some monster free agent from a major league — regardless of the sport.  After making fantastically awesome sandwiches, this may be the top promotion of the bush leagues

In this case it’s the Lake Erie Crushers of the independent frontier League who have offered to sign LeBron James:

The Lake Erie Crushers plan to offer James a
maximum contract under Frontier League rules on “Keep LBJ in the C-L-E
Night” next week. The team said the contract is worth $1,600 a month and
will include a host family so the NBA superstar won’t have the “stress
of a potential commute” from the Akron.” Also available will be a luxury suite.

The Crushers will wear
Cavaliers-themed jerseys June 30 and each player will wear No. 6 to
honor James’ switch from No. 23. The team is renaming its park LeBron James Field at All Pro Freight Stadium for the game. Anyone named LeBron gets
free tickets.

Whatever. The way I see it, LeBron James need the Crushers more than they need him.  After all, the Crushers won the Frontier League championship last year.  Last I checked, James is still looking for a title . . .

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.