The Yankees won’t go seven years for Cliff Lee. Would you believe … The Nationals?

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More word this morning that, contrary to some speculation last night, the Yankees will not offer Cliff Lee a seven-year deal, on the basis that they will not exceed the contract length of the CC Sabathia deal, and that was a six-year thing.  So if there is a team out there willing to go nuts, it’s not New York.

Here’s a wild card: Washington.  Jon Heyman hears this morning that they have become “ultra-aggressive” in pursuit of a starting pitcher. And hey, they have a recent track record of being totally unhinged, so why not them? Heyman doesn’t mention Lee’s name, but it would certainly sound strange for the words “ultra-aggressive” and “Carl Pavano” to go together, wouldn’t it?

Unlike Jayson Werth, however, I seriously doubt that Lee would consider going to Washington, but hey, crazier things have happened. And even if that’s too crazy, an offer, even if it has no hope of being accepted, could drive others to sweeten offers of their own.

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.