Zelous Wheeler made his big-league debut this season when injuries wrecked the Yankees’ roster, but now the 28-year-old career minor leaguer is headed to Japan.
Wheeler has been sold to the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japanese League, removing him from the Yankees’ roster.
He hit just .193 for the Yankees, but Wheeler batted .296 with nine homers and an .834 OPS in 82 games at Triple-A and has the defensive versatility to potentially have stuck in a bench gig.
Last night after ending his Yankee Stadium career with a walk-off single Derek Jeter said he wouldn’t be playing shortstop again, but indicated that he would play in some capacity during the Yankees’ season-ending series in Boston.
For tonight at least he’s not in the starting lineup at all, as the Yankees have Brendan Ryan at shortstop. Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann, and Brett Gardner are also sitting, so it’s a lineup devoid of regulars.
2B – Jose Pirela
CF – Eury Perez
1B – Francisco Cervelli
LF – Chris Young
C – John Ryan Murphy
DH – Austin Romine
SS – Brendan Ryan
3B – Zelous Wheeler
RF – Antoan Richardson
Yankees manager Joe Girardi indicated that Jeter asked for the night off, so presumably pinch-hitting or even pinch-running is unlikely.
After more than a year of frequent trade rumors the Padres have finally dealt Chase Headley, as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that they’re sending the 30-year-old impending free agent third baseman to the Yankees.
Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News says the Padres will receive infielder Yangervis Solarte and right-hander Rafael De Paula in exchange for Headley. Solarte was signed as a minor-league free agent and De Paula is a 23-year-old Single-A pitcher who’s not considered a top prospect (although he does have a big strikeout rate).
Two seasons ago Headley smacked 31 homers, led the league in RBIs, and finished fifth in the MVP balloting, but his production plummeted last season and this year he’s been mostly injured and ineffective while hitting ..229 with seven homers and a .651 OPS in 77 games. However, he’s shown some signs of life this month and given the minimal talent price tag the Yankees aren’t taking much of a risk in acquiring him when the in-house alternatives for them at third base were guys like Solarte and Zelous Wheeler.
San Diego missed an opportunity to cash in Headley for huge value following the 2012 season and now they’re simply getting a modest return for him instead of letting him walk for nothing as a free agent in three months. Keeping him and then making him a qualifying offer was another option for the Padres and would have fetched them a draft pick if he signed elsewhere, but clearly they didn’t want to risk Headley simply accepting a one-year, $14 million deal to return in 2015. New York is not eligible to make him a qualifying offer.