Yesterday afternoon reports had the Indians trying to sign either Mark Reynolds or Kevin Youkilis to be their new first baseman. Last night Reynolds accepted their one-year, $6 million offer, which is quite a bit less than Cleveland is said to have offered Youkilis and seemingly makes it much more likely that Youkilis will wind up in New York.
Jeff Bradley of the Newark Star Ledger writes that the Yankees have probably “inched closer” to signing Youkilis as a fill-in for Alex Rodriguez at third base. Previous reports had the Yankees offering him a one-year, $12 million deal and Youkilis’ agent said he was “strongly considering” the offer.
A few other teams have also been linked to Youkilis, so he certainly has some options beyond the Yankees, and Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes that it’s possible the Indians may still be interested in him even after signing Reynolds.
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.