Nationals “have dabbled” in Zimmermann extension talks

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It has become almost commonplace for major league teams to lock up talented, cost-controlled pitchers through their arbitration years. And the Nationals are apparently thinking about getting in on the act.

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that the Nats “have dabbled in preliminary conversations” with the representatives for right-hander Jordan Zimmermann. Nothing is close yet, but the sides could look to strike an agreement by next winter.

Zimmermann, who qualified as a Super Two and thus gained four years of arbitration eligibility, is making $2.3 million this season. The 25-year-old registered a 3.18 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 124/31 K/BB ratio across 161 1/3 innings in 2011 and is off to a superb start in 2012.

The Giants gave 22-year-old left-hander Madison Bumgarner a five-year, $35 million extension last week.

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.