Brian Cashman’s offseason is just getting started. After acquiring Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins, he has now managed to unload Chase Headley’s $13 million contract on the San Diego Padres. While the exact amount of money that will change hands is not known yet, there is no doubt that this is yet another expert Cashman trade if he’s managed to get the Padres to pay for Headley.
The expiring contracts of Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia have freed up a substantial amount of space on the payroll. It made Stanton and his contract a possibility because even with the amount that he will be paid, the Yankees were projected to remain under the luxury tax threshold. Clearing out Headley, in the final year of his contract, gives the team far more room to acquire talent, if that is indeed the plan.
It is likely that the Yankees preferred to move Jacoby Ellsbury, if they were going to get rid of a large contract, but this may have been Plan B. Ellsbury is seemingly refusing to accept a trade, as he believes the center field job is still his to win back. Maybe the Yankees manage to move him too, but that would be one hell of an offseason for Cashman.
What the trade of Headley means is that there is now two open spots in the infield with Starlin Castro gone too. This almost guarantees that Gleyber Torres will be up with the major league team before too long. Miguel Andujar is an internal option at third base, while Tyler Wade and Ronald Torreyes will likely also be in the discussion.
This may be unlikely, but it also puts the Yankees in the market for a free agent infielder. It could mean a reunion with Todd Frazier, or possibly a one-year stopgap at either position in order to hold down the fort. The trade of Bryan Mitchell is just icing on the cake, because though he was clearly useless at this point, the Yankees could seemingly not stop giving him more chances. This deal now takes him out of the equation for good.
The Yankees get 28-year-old outfielder Jabari Blash, so we know this is a straight up salary dump, with the Padres getting a little more “upside” in Mitchell. Headley is certainly a fine addition for them, but it’s not clear why they would want him when the team has other options for third base.