Free agents departing Rays have signed for $213 million

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Following the Yankees signing Rafael Soriano to a three-year, $35 million deal last night Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune notes that the eight free agents departing the Rays this offseason have signed elsewhere for a total of $213 million over 19 years.

That total will rise to $215 million for 20 seasons once Chad Qualls’ deal with the Padres becomes official and Type A free agent Grant Balfour is still on the market (as are Willy Aybar and Lance Cormier).

Meanwhile, the Rays’ big free agent splash was signing middle reliever Joel Peralta to a one-year, $900,000 contract.

Tampa Bay isn’t nearly as bad off as those figures would suggest, as the Rays have several prominent young players like Desmond Jennings and Jeremy Hellickson ready to step into big roles, but $215 million versus $900,000 is still pretty staggering.

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.