Cliff Lee will listen to offers from Nationals, probably all teams

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It is officially hot stove season and, courtesy of MLB.com’s Bill Ladson, we officially have one of our first ridiculous hot stove items.

In September, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo expressed a desire to pick up a front-end starter this offseason.  Then on Thursday ESPN.com’s Rob Neyer wrote that the Nats are “a potential sleeper in the competition to land” free agent left-hander Cliff Lee.

Now comes the good part.  Or the juicy part.  Or whatever you want to call it.  Ladson heard from a baseball source this weekend that Lee is open to offers from the Nationals and “will listen to what Washington has to say.”  Shocking, right?

It should come as no surprise that Lee, this offseason’s marquee free agent, is going to listen to what any and every MLB team “has to say.” Of course he’s going to leave himself “open” to their offers.  He’s a free agent — free to sign with any club — and he is going to be seeking out the richest contract possible.

The Rangers and Yankees are believed to be the front-runners for his services and both clubs have the resources to get the job done.   Most national media members believe that the southpaw will wind up in pinstripes, but if the Nationals want to drive up his price, more power to ’em.  The Pirates might as well throw in a bid too.  And is that the Royals on Line 2?

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

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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.

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.

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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.