After initially holding out hope that Andrew McCutchen could avoid the disabled list–including general manager Neal Huntington saying yesterday that he’d made “remarkable” progress in his recovery–the Pirates have placed the reigning MVP on the shelf with an avulsion fracture of his rib.
McCutchen spent one week on the active roster but unavailable to play, so the Pirates are able to backdate his disabled list stint. However, there’s certainly no guarantee that Pittsburgh’s center fielder and No. 3 hitter will return when eligible.
Prior to the injury McCutchen was actually besting last season’s MVP-winning production in many key categories while hitting .311 with 17 homers, 17 steals, a league-leading 68 walks, and a .949 OPS.
In his absence the Pirates have shifted Starling Marte from left field to center field while using Travis Snider and Josh Harrison in a left field time-share. Pittsburgh is 62-55, trailing Milwaukee by 2.5 games in the NL Central and holding onto the second of two Wild Card spots.
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.