Rays right fielder Steven Souza will undergo surgery to repair an impingement in his left hip on Wednesday, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). Souza visited a specialist to have his hip looked at today and told Topkin recently that he’s been playing through discomfort since June.
The 27-year-old Souza had a solid season at the plate and in the field even in spite of the ailment, hitting .247/.303/.409 with 17 homers, 17 doubles and six stolen bases in a career-high 468 plate appearances. He graded out as an above-average defender even in spite of a hip impingement that one would assume impacted his mobility to some extent in the field.
From a big picture standpoint, the surgery doesn’t change too much for the Rays. Topkin notes that Souza is expected to be ready for Spring Training, so he’ll presumably be penciled in as the team’s primary right fielder once again, barring some form of significant setback in his offseason recovery. The Rays will undoubtedly hope that a healthier hip can lead Souza to capitalize more effectively on the combination of power, speed and defense that makes him such a tantalizing talent.
As it stands, the Rays have the least to show at the big league level for the three-team blockbuster that brought Souza to St. Petersburg in the first place, as Trea Turner and Joe Ross look like cornerstone pieces for the Nationals while Wil Myers has enjoyed an excellent breakout season in San Diego. However, they also have Class-A lefty Travis Ott and Double-A first baseman/right fielder Jake Bauers making their way through the minor league ranks. And, of course, Souza won’t even be arbitration-eligible this winter and has an additional four years of club control remaining, so there’s ample opportunity for the Rays to receive more Major League value from that swap.