John Russell interviews for Orioles’ coaching vacancy

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Now that Juan Samuel has decided to return home to Philadelphia, the Orioles still have vacancies at third base coach and bench coach. According to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, former Pirates manager John Russell interviewed Friday for the two openings on Buck Showalter’s staff.

*Russell was fired by the Pirates in October after compiling a 186-299 record (.384) over three seasons as manager. He was previously the third base coach in Pittsburgh from 2003-05 under then-manager Lloyd McClendon. Showalter is also looking for a catching instructor, so Russell seems to be a pretty good fit for the job.

Gary Allenson, who was the O’s third base coach for the final three months this past season, would likely return to Triple-A Norfolk in the event that Russell is hired. Former Mets manager Willie Randolph and Orioles’ fan favorite Mike Bordick remain in the mix for the coaching positions, as well.

*By the way, just go ahead and try to find a picture of John Russell smiling. It’s not as easy as you think. In addition to the one on the right, I also stumbled upon this, this and this. Just about sums up his tenure as manager in Pittsburgh, no?

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.