The Arizona Diamondbacks were looking to add to the outfield depth and get a big bat to help lengthen the lineup.
They got both when trading for former Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Steven Souza Jr.
Souza had a breakout year in 2017, hitting 30 home runs and driving in 78. He hit .236 and had a strikeout rate of 29%, but saw improvement in the last season.
New #Dbacks outfielder Steven Souza Jr. will wear No. 28.
— Steve Gilbert (@SteveGilbertMLB) February 21, 2018
“We see him very much as a complete player,” Hazen said. “He’s a good baserunner, plays really good defensive corner outfield. We feel like he’s made a lot of improvements in his game over the last couple years as he has matured into a consistent big leaguer.”
Souza is already familiar with multiple Diamondbacks. He played with new reliever Brad Boxberger in Tampa Bay. He has gone hunting with Paul Goldschmidt. Souza and Jake Lamb grew up in Washington around the same time. He played against Robbie Ray in the minor leagues.
“I think any time you switch organizations, everything is a little new,” Souza said. “I know (Torey Lovullo) was in Boston for a couple years in my early years in Tampa, and knowing these guys, it just will make a smoother transition knowing kind of the personalities.”
Many view Souza as “the replacement” for J.D. Martinez, who signed with Boston this week. Souza said he is ready to help the Diamondbacks in any way he can, but knows Martinez’s out-of-this-world numbers in Arizona don’t happen often.
“If I can hit 29 home runs in a half, that would be great. I think we’ll be doing alright,” Souza said. “That’s ridiculous. I don’t know if anyone has done those types of things in the second half, so to say that I’m gong to come in and try to fill those shoes would be a little bit far-fetched. But I’ll tell you I’m going to come in and I’m going to play my game. I’m going to play as hard as I can every single day and I’m going to help this team win a ball game.”
While Torey Lovullo has yet to discuss Souza’s role with the team, he has a pretty good idea of how the outfield can help.
“This is an impact bat,” Lovullo said. “He’s going to play about as much as he can. I know that he’s played both (corner outfield positions). We haven’t finalized exactly what’s going to happen. If you want me to speculate, he’s going to play just about every day and play right field.”
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