Tampa Bay Rays

He was voted Rays team MVP in 2017; now, he’s headed to Arizona

The Tampa Bay Rays continue to remake their roster, sending outfielder Steven Souza Jr. to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday in a three-team deal that also includes the New York Yankees.

The Rays will receive left-handed reliever Anthony Banda and two players to be named later from the Diamondbacks, and Tampa Bay will get minor league second baseman Nick Solak from the Yankees.

Souza Jr., 28, was named team MVP after the 2017 season, during which he hit .239 with 30 home runs and 78 RBIs. He played in a career-high 148 games, stole 16 bases and became the eighth player in franchise history to hit 30 homers in a season.

The move is the latest in a series of roster changes that has drawn public criticism from at least one current and one former Rays player.

Franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria was traded to the San Francisco Giants in December, reliable starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi was traded Saturday to the Minnesota Twins, and Corey Dickerson was designated for assignment over the weekend. Dickerson was coming off his best season.

Longoria criticized the direction of the team Monday from Giants camp in Arizona. And current Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier was also critical.

“I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset with the moves, no beating around the bush,” Kiermaier told the Tampa Bay Times on Monday in Port Charlotte as the team held its first full-squad workout of the spring.

As part of the deal, the Diamondbacks sent infielder Brandon Drury to the Yankees.

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