King Felix may be shut down early

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Felix Hernandez would have three starts left if he stays on regular rest. Kirby Arnold of the Everett Herald reports, however, that he may start only two more games because the team is concerned about his workload. Hernandez’s workload, that is. Not Arnold’s. I’m sure he’ll be able to report for the rest of the season without risking injury or fatigue.

On the one hand I’m a big fan of not pushing your valuable franchise pitchers unnecessarily, and there’s absolutely nothing necessary about the rest of the Mariners season. On the other hand, even if he were to throw three more complete games, he’d still only have 22 more innings this year than last year. And he’s currently 109 pitches behind the number he threw last year. So yes, going all three starts will take him into unprecedented territory, but it won’t take him into crazy land. If they want to truly preserve him, why not just shut him down now?

But hey, if Hernandez is shut down, the writers who support CC Sabathia and David Price for the Cy Young Award* will have another fact they will believe to be in their favor. No, not durability or anything. Probably something about guts and bravery or something equally as compelling as the wins argument tends to be.

*I recently spoke with a couple of writers who had a reasonable request of me: stop referring to “the writers” as if they were some giant groupthinking blob. I try not to do that, but I’ll admit that I’ve done it a bit recently, most notably in connection with the AL Cy Young award and the Jeter phantom HBP thing. And that’s not fair, as there are a lot of them who think sharply about issues, and that’s the case even if they ultimately come out differently than I do. A lot of writers do support Hernandez. A lot of the ones who don’t, don’t do so simply on the “wins = everything” basis I’ve been criticizing. There are a lot of writers who, like me, thought the Jeter thing was much ado about nothing.

Anyway, as a guy who bristles whenever he hears the term “the bloggers” thrown around to describe everything from some mental defect with a LiveJournal account to yours truly, I think it’s more than fair that I avoid similar imprecision when referring to newspaper guys. Going forward, I’ll be careful to make it clear that when I’m talking about a dumb opinion, I’m limiting it to those who actually subscribe to the dumb opinion as opposed to everyone in that guy’s field.

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.