Headley, Mitchell dealt by Yankees to Padres in payroll dump
ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 13, 2017 09:30 AM
FILE - In this Oct. 18, 2017, file photo, New York Yankees' Chase Headley hits a double during the sixth inning of Game 5 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros, in New York. Third baseman Chase Headley and pitcher Bryan Mitchell have been traded by the Yankees to the San Diego Padres, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, giving New York added payroll flexibility and room for infield prospects. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
By Ronald Blum, Associated Press
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida (AP) — The New York Yankees made a rare payroll dump, creating flexibility to add starting pitching.
Third baseman Chase Headley and pitcher Bryan Mitchell were dealt to San Diego on Tuesday for 28-year-old outfielder Jabari Blash, who made his big league debut in 2016 and has played in 99 games in the majors over two seasons.
Headley's $13 million salary was assumed by the Padres, and the Yankees agreed to give San Diego $500,000 on Jan. 10 to defray part of Headley's $1 million assignment bonus.
A day after finalizing their acquisition of NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton from Miami, the Yankees cut payroll to about $167 million for luxury tax purposes. Owner Hal Steinbrenner is intent on getting under the $197 million tax threshold next year, and New York still may attempt to re-sign left-hander CC Sabathia or trade for another starting pitcher such as Detroit right-hander Michael Fulmer, the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year.
"The biggest motivation from our end is it creates a lot more financial flexibility as we are going to reset that tax clock," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "It's a mandate from above over the course of a number of years that we've been building towards."
Cashman would not say whether other teams have shown interest in acquiring pricey Jacoby Ellsbury, who has dropped to a fifth outfielder behind Stanton, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks.
"We're trying to be aggressive, as we always are," he said.
Headley, who turns 34 in May, lost his third base job and shifted to first when the Yankees acquired Todd Frazier. Miguel Andujar, a 21-year-old prospect, will compete for third base in spring training. Cashman has spoken with the agent for Frazier, a New Jersey native who relished playing in his home market and became a free agent.
Gleyber Torres, who turns 21 this week, could be a third base option or have a chance to take over at second following the trade of Starlin Castro to the Marlins in the Stanton deal. Torres has completed his rehabilitation from a torn ligament in his left (non-throwing) elbow, an injury sustained during a head-first slide into home plate at Triple-A in mid-June.
"I'm really excited about his long-term future with us," new manager Aaron Boone said.
Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade also are infield options.
"We have some hungry, talented, inexperienced kids ready to prove that they can take that next step," Cashman said. "But at the same time there might some opportunities that exist, whether it's via free agency or trade, that could make us gravitate in a different direction."
Headley returns to the team that selected him in the second round of the 2005 amateur draft. He hit .273 with 12 homers and 61 RBIs this year and has a .264 average with 130 homers and 592 RBIs in 11 major league seasons with San Diego and the Yankees, who acquired him in July 2014 for infielder Yangervis Solarte and right-hander Rafael De Paula. Headley hit a career-high 31 homers and had an NL-leading 115 RBIs with the Padres in 2012.
His second stint in San Diego may be brief. Cory Spangenberg and Solarte can play third.
"I talked to Chase this morning and explained to him that we're going to look at the situation and figure out is there space for everybody? Is their opportunity for everybody?" Padres general manager A.J. Preller said. "I was very honest, telling him that we're going to talk to other clubs."