Ryan Dempster moves into major league lead in pitches thrown

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That final pitch Ryan Dempster threw Friday — a ball four to Bronson Arroyo with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh — moved him into the major league lead for pitches thrown this season. The top 11 is below. Everyone on the list has made exactly 17 starts:
1. Ryan Dempster – 1,878
2. Roy Halladay – 1,877
3. Dan Haren – 1,873
4. Yovani Gallardo – 1,869
5. Jered Weaver – 1,868
6. Felix Hernandez – 1,866
7. Kevin Millwood – 1,841
8. Aaron Harang – 1,797
9. Chris Carpenter – 1,789
10. Randy Wolf – 1,784
11. Zack Greinke – 1,770
There are also two pitchers with 16 starts up close to Dempster and Halladay in pitches per outing:
1. Ubaldo Jimenez – 1,756
2. Justin Verlander – 1,753
It will be interesting to see just how many pitchers from this group of 13 decline in the second half. Haren has a history of second-half swoons, and though he’s not pitching as well as usual, he’s taken on a very extremely heavy workload.
I think Dempster is at particular risk. He’s the only pitcher in baseball to have thrown 120 pitches on five occasions this season (Gallardo and Jimenez have done so four times). In 2008, he threw 101.2 pitches per starts. In 2009, it was 101.9. This year, he’s at 110.5. Particularly since they’re committed to him for $27.5 million between 2011 and 2012, the Cubs would be smart to be more careful with him from here on in.

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.