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Report: Former D-backs OF Steven Souza close to deal with Cubs

Steven Souza Jr #28 of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits an RBI single during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field on September 3, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

The Chicago Cubs are nearing a deal with former Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Steven Souza Jr., The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported Friday.

Souza is a free agent after being non-tendered by the D-backs this offseason.

The Cubs could fill a hole in their outfield with Souza, needing to replace outgoing Nicholas Castellanos, who remains one of the top free agents on the market. Even the D-backs had been rumored in the Castellanos conversation at one point.

The 30-year-old Souza missed all of 2019 because of a severe knee injury that he suffered in exhibition play right before the season. He spent all year rehabbing his knee, which had a torn ACL, torn LCL, partial PCL tear and a torn posterior lateral capsule.

The signing could present a low-risk, high-reward situation for the Cubs.

Souza only made it into 72 games in his time in Arizona, all of which were in 2018, a year that included its own injury issues for the outfielder. That year, he batted only .220 with a .678 OPS, but Souza previously hit 30 home runs with an .810 OPS in a breakout 2017 for the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Cubs would be Souza’s fourth major league organization, as he started with Washington before going to Tampa Bay and Arizona. He has played innings at all three outfield positions in his career, mostly in right field, where he owns a career .983 fielding percentage. He has a -1.3 career defensive WAR (wins above replacement).


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