The Yankees acquired infielder Brandon Drury from the Diamondbacks on Tuesday.
By Brendan Kuty
FanRag’s Jon Heyman first reported the Yankees’ haul.
According to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, the Yankees sent 2016 second-round pick Nick Solak, a second baseman, to the Rays in the three-team deal, which also saw the Diamondbacks get outfielder Steven Souza. Arizona also got minor-league righty Taylor Widener from the Yankees.
Here’s what it means for the Yankees:
1.) Who is Drury?: Drury is a 25-year-old who played 114 games at second base for the Diamondbacks last season but also has 41 career games of experience at third base. He came up through the minors as a third baseman (415 games), though. The guess here is that the Yankees will want him to play third. Since making his big-league debut in 2015, he’s hit .271 with a .767 OPS. In 2017, Drury hit .267 with 13 homers and 63 RBI. In 2016, he hit 16 bombs with 53 RBI.
2.) Why did the Yankees want him?: Before the deal, the Yankees had holes at second base and third base. Drury will end up at either position. The bet is third base, considering how raw top prospect Miguel Andujar seems defensively and considering how many games Drury has played at the position in his pro career. Drury gives the Yankees flexibility at two positions of need.
3.) Costs almost nothing: Drury made $560,000 in 2017 and he won’t be arbitration-eligible until 2019. That’s perfect for the Yankees, who want to stay under the $197-million luxury tax threshold. According to Cots Baseball, the Yankees are about $35 million below that mark. That doesn’t include the approximately $14 million set aside for pension and insurance costs.
4.) Who did they give up?: Though he’s talented, the Yankees don’t seem likely to miss Solak, a 23-year-old who hits for contact and a little pop but is considered a generally bad defender who might not have a position in the majors. As for Widener, he can get his fastball up to 97 mph with a hard-breaking slider that’s plus when it’s consistent. He’s a college reliever-turned-starter who went 7-8 with a 3.39 ERA in 27 starts at High-A last year.
5.) Quick take from a scout: A scout who saw Drury multiple times last year had difficulty assessing him as a third baseman, since when he saw him he mostly played second base. But the scout said he believes Drury’s body “really more built to be a corner guy.”