The D-backs announced today that they’ve activated outfielder Steven Souza Jr. from the disabled list and optioned first baseman Christian Walker to Triple-A Reno. Souza will make his Diamondbacks debut today against the Dodgers, batting fifth and playing right field.
Arizona’s offseason acquisition of Souza came as somewhat of a surprise. After spending much of the offseason in pursuit of a reunion with J.D. Martinez, who ultimately signed with the Red Sox, the Snakes quickly shifted course and struck up a three-team deal with the Rays and Yankees that would net Souza, who figures to play a prominent role in the Arizona outfield for years to come.
Because Souza is controlled through the 2020 season, the D-backs had to pay a fairly steep price, shipping Anthony Banda, Sam McWilliams and Colin Pache to the Rays while also sending Brandon Drury to the Yankees. Arizona also picked up minor league righty Taylor Widener from the Yankees in the three-team swap.
While Souza won’t fully replace the production lost when Martinez signed elsewhere, the 29-year-old is coming off a plenty impressive season in his own right. Through a career-high 617 plate appearances with Tampa Bay in 2017, Souza slashed .239/.351/.459 with 30 homers, 21 doubles, a pair of triples and 16 stolen bases. He’s a considerably better baserunner and defender than Martinez as well, so he’ll contribute in a more all-around fashion than Martinez’s bat-first skill set allowed.
[Related: Arizona Diamondbacks depth chart]
Souza’s activation from the DL will likely push Jarrod Dyson into a reserve role. Center fielder A.J. Pollock and left fielder David Peralta don’t figure to see their playing time diminish much at all with the move, while Chris Owings could see more time in the infield now that Souza is in the fold.