Bud Selig: George Steinbrenner is a Hall of Famer

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See, Bud and I don’t disagree on everything. In this, I’m right there with him:

Baseball
commissioner Bud Selig held court in the back of the press box Monday
night and was asked, among other things, if Steinbrenner deserves a
plaque in Cooperstown in addition to Monument Park. “Of course I do,”
Selig said. “Now I’m sure that will have some controversy, but you asked
me my opinion.”

Told that former Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert is not in Cooperstown,
Selig said, “I didn’t have a vote back then and I don’t have a vote
now.”

He could have also added that the Babe Ruth/Lou Gehrig teams over which Ruppert presided were more the doing of Ed Barrow than they were Ruppert. In contrast, Steinbrenner was truly a transformative figure, and for all of his flaws, I believe far more deserving of the Hall of Fame than Ruppert was.

Yes, I realize there is an army of Steinbrenner haters out there. I’m no personal admirer myself. But my view of the Hall of Fame is that it’s about history and impact and, ultimately, excellence, and no matter what else you can say about George Steinbrenner, you can’t say that he wasn’t historic, had no impact and did not do things which allowed the Yankees — and baseball as a whole — to excel.

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.

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.