Jon Heyman is still doing his best to find Johnny Damon a job, but it won’t be with the Yankees.
General manager Brian Cashman told George King of the New York Post that Damon contacted the Yankees looking for work and “I told him the truth … he is not the No. 1 option if and when I turn to DH options.”
Or as Damon put it: “We both are looking at other options now.”
Damon is no longer an impact hitter, but neither is the guy the Yankees are said to be pursuing, Raul Ibanez. In fact, last season Ibanez hit .245 with a .707 OPS in 144 games for the Phillies and Damon hit .261 with a .743 OPS in 150 games for the Rays. Damon is also two years younger, so either he’s looking for significantly more money than Ibanez or the Yankees simply don’t want anything to do with a reunion.
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.