Pirates interested in Rick Ankiel, Hank Blalock

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Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates have “made contact with” free agents Rick Ankiel and Hank Blalock, both of whom would fit the team’s apparent plan to pursue players looking to “revive their careers.”
Kovacevic notes that the Pirates could bring in a free agent like Ankiel or Blalock on a short-term contract and then, depending on whether or not the team is in contention, either hang onto the player or use him as trade bait while clearing room for a prospect like Jose Tabata.
Garrett Jones will start somewhere after his huge rookie season. He’d likely play right field if Blalock is brought in to play first base, but could also play first base is Ankiel is signed to play right field. The latter strikes me as a far more intriguing option, because Jones’ glove is lacking and an outfield with Lastings Milledge in left, Andrew McCutchen in center, and Ankiel in right would be among baseball’s best defensively.

Yankees trade Chase Headley, Bryan Mitchell to the Padres for Jabari Blash

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The New York Yankees have traded third baseman Chase Headley and pitcher Bryan Mitchell to the San Diego Padres for outfielder Jabari Blash. Joel Sherman of the New York Post was the first to report the trade. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was the first to report that Blash was coming back in return.

Headley, a third baseman, hit .273/.352/.406 for the Yankees last year. He, of course, played for the Padres from 2007 through the middle of 2014, when he was dealt to New York. Mitchell has pitched 48 games for the Yankees, most from the pen, over four seasons, with an ERA of 4.94 in 98.1 innings. He doesn’t strike out many and he walks a lot. He throws hard.

Blash, an outfielder, has hit .200/.323/.336 with eight homers in 279 big league plate appearances. Blash has shown a lot of power potential in the minors, but has not yet put it together in the bigs. Given what the Yankees have in their outfield at the moment, he’s going to be organizational depth or, perhaps, a chit in a future trade.

This would seem to be an exercise in salary clearing by the Yankees in anticipation of another move, as it takes about $13 million off of their payroll. Which is about how much was added to their payroll for 2018 in the Giancarlo Stanton deal. That could get Todd Frazier back for them, perhaps. Or it could help them retain CC Sabathia or go after another starting pitcher. The club likewise maintains an interest in getting under the $197 million payroll threshold which would trigger yet another year of 50% luxury tax payments for the Yankees.