The Nationals don’t intend to go after Prince Fielder

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Bill Ladson of MLB.com says that the Nationals don’t intend to pursue to Prince Fielder in free agency this winter.  Normally this kind of thing wouldn’t be terribly significant, especially in August, but it probably matters here.

As we’ve seen these past few years, the Nationals have become Scott Boras’ huckleberry.  If he’s got a guy who needs signed or drafted, Mike Rizzo will pick up the phone.  Fielder is a Boras guy. Boras’ biggest guy this winter.  Given the recent track record, it would not be at all surprising for people to speculate the Nats are in the bidding.

Indeed, it’s not at all hard to believe that Boras and whatever media surrogates he can muster will do their best to spread the word of the Nationals’ totally serious interest in making a big splash. They’ll point to the improved Nats’ team. The prospect of Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper on the horizon. The fact that, as the Jayson Werth deal showed, they’re not afraid to spend money.  They’ll use that to try to convince some other team who may be interested in Fielder that they had best bid high or not bother.

And with this report — assuming it’s true — it seems like the Nats are unwilling to be party to those kinds of games.

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.