The Yankees have announced they traded INF Chase Headley and RHP Bryan Mitchell to the Padres for OF Jabari Blash, per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.
Headley, 33, hit .273 with 12 homers and 61 RBI last season. Rosenthal adds the Padres will absorb all of his $13 million he is owed next season. In turn, the Yankees have sent $500,000 to the Padres as part of the trade, per MLB.com's Marc Feinsand.
Mitchell, 26, was under team control until 2021. He pitched in only 48 career games with the Yankees since 2014, where he posted a 4.94 ERA and 1.62 WHIP over that span.
Blash, 28, has spent limited time in the big leagues, playing in 99 games since 2016. In 61 games last season, he hit .213 with five homers and 16 RBI. In the field, he was worth -2 defensive runs saved between left and right field.
In a pure salary dump based on the return, the Yankees have cleared substantial payroll, which points to questions and additional speculation.
One, who will play third base? Will the Yankees pursue Todd Frazier? Or will the Yankees play rookie Miguel Andujar at the hot corner? Would the Yankees consider playing rookies at second and third base? With the rest of the lineup, they might be able to withstand it, but it seems unlikely. There could be further moves coming at one of these positions.
The extra cash gives the Yankees enough room to re-sign CC Sabathia or invest long-term in Alex Cobb, while staying under the luxury tax threshold. Signing a free agent allows the Yankees to hold onto valued prospects for the time being.
The Headley deal may also signal that the Yankees believe that Jacoby Ellsbury will not accept a trade, meaning his $21 million-plus salary could remain on the books for at least the immediate future.
Headley was much maligned during his time in New York, but in my opinion, he was more than serviceable. He was good at the plate for much of his time with the Yankees, but suffered extreme slumps that brought down his overall numbers. As for Mitchell, there was simply no room for him in New York and he'll finally get a long look in San Diego's rotation.