Miguel Cabrera is probably done for the season. What's that mean for the MVP race?

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Miguel Cabrera sprained his ankle while trying to get back to first on a pickoff play last night (hey, he has three stolen bases this year, so you’ve got to contain that risk!). It’s being described as a mild ankle sprain, but with only a few meaningless games left in the season it would seem silly for the Tigers to rush him back. If not for the sake of the ankle itself than simply so that he doesn’t get some other injury while compensating for it.

The American League MVP race is going to be interesting. Cabrera, assuming he doesn’t come back, will finish with nice triple crown stats: .328 average, 38 homers and 126 RBI
on the year.  His OPS is nearly identical to Josh Hamilton (1.049 for Hamilton, 1.042 for Cabrera).

The knock on Hamilton by some is that he’s missed a lot of time, but the difference is not extreme: Hamilton has 559, Cabrera has 644. Joe Mauer won the MVP last year after missing the first month of the season and he only had 573 plate appearances, so we certainly can’t dismiss Hamilton.

Other possibilities — which we’ll obviously be discussing more in the coming days and weeks — include Robinson Cano, Jose Bautista and Evan Longoria. I imagine Adrian Beltre and Paul Konerko have their advocates.  It’s quite wide open this year.

I’d probably give my first place vote — if I had one — to Josh Hamilton based on defense and pennant race stuff and what have you, but this is one award choice where reasonable people can disagree. And as long as they use some amount of reason to reach their conclusions, I’m pretty cool with that.

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.