Yankees have “preliminary discussions” with Raul Ibanez

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Raul Ibanez was mostly not very good this year before going nuts in the playoffs, but Dan Martin of the New York Post reports that the Yankees “have had preliminary discussions” about re-signing the 40-year-old free agent.

Ibanez played this season on a one-year, $1.1 million contract and hit .240 with 19 homers and a .761 OPS in 130 games. If spotted mostly versus right-handed pitching he’s still a reasonably competent hitter, but it’s hard to imagine the Yankees can’t do better even if they’re shopping on a budget.

Among the 108 first basemen, corner outfielders, and designated hitters to appear in at least 100 games this year Ibanez ranked 67th in OPS, and that was while being shielded from tough lefties.

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.