No, this isn’t based on any insight or news or tips or even any gossip. It’s based on this:
Before that, I would have said that Ruben Amaro was probably inclined to wait out Chase Utley’s injury, play Freddy Galvis at second base, get through the early, easy part of their schedule — 30 of their first 39 games come against sub-.500 teams — and remember that the team still won 102 games last season without Utley in the lineup for a large stretch of it.
But now? Man, if I’ve learned anything about how general managers operate these past few years, it’s that they only talk about how they’re comfortable with a guy taking over for an All-Star is when they’re trying to make it seem slightly less obvious to the other GMs that they’re really wanting to trade.
I know your game, Amaro. Your ninja tricks won’t work on me!
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.