New pitcher Anthony Banda already “loving the vibe” with Rays

Pitcher acquired from Arizona in Souza trade is excited by opportunity with Rays
New Rays lefty Anthony Banda figures he'll have  better opportunity. [MARC TOPKIN | Times ]
New Rays lefty Anthony Banda figures he'll have better opportunity. [MARC TOPKIN | Times ]
Published Feb. 22, 2018|Updated Feb. 22, 2018

Acknowledging the "whirlwind" that comes with being traded, LHP Anthony Banda said he is excited to come over from Arizona because he figures to have a better opportunity with the Rays.

And he already likes the fit.

"I'm very excited to be here and continue development as a person and as a player," he said. "I'm already loving the vibe here. I'm already loving the people here. Very generous, very humane. Nothing crazy, nothing uptight. Just very laid back. I'm loving it."

RELATED: Rays trade '17 team MVP Souza in three-team deal for prospects

Banda (rhymes with Honda), 24, was acquired Tuesday in the three-team trade that sent Rays 2017 team MVP Steven Souza Jr. to to Arizona. The Rays also got two minor-leaguers to be named later, and 2B prospect Nick Solak from the Yankees.

But Banda is the centerpiece, having reached the majors last season – going 2-3, 5.96 – in eight games, and ranking as the D-backs No. 2 prospect going into this season.

Though the numbers weren't good, Banda said the experience of pitching in the majors, and for a team in the race, was.

"Overall, I loved it." he said. "I think that it was good for me. I know I can pitch there. I know I can get outs there. I've shown it. Now it's use the little bits and tiny pieces, just putting it together and staying consistent, getting that and just rolling with the punches."

Though Banda comes across as laid back, he said a strength is his competitive edge. "I always pitch with a chip on my shoulder," he said. "Even though it doesn't look like it, I have a chip in my shoulder."

He also has plenty of ink on his body, with tattoos covering both arms and his chest. "I'm done," he said. "I think."

Banda, who will wear No. 53, will have the opportunity to learn the Rays way, as his locker is next to top starter Chris Archer.