Three and a half years after the Padres traded Chase Headley to the Yankees, San Diego is bringing him back.
The Padres acquired Headley and righthander Bryan Mitchell from the Yankees on Tuesday in exchange for outfielder Jabari Blash. The deal clears Headley’s $13 million salary from the Yankees books, a move they needed to make to try and stay under the luxury tax threshold after acquiring Giancarlo Stanton.
Headley played for the Padres from 2007-2014, winning a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award at third base in 2012. He was traded to the Yankees at the 2014 trade deadline in exchange for Yangervis Solarte and Rafael De Paula.
For the Yankees, Headley’s departure opens up their second infield spot in as many days after they officially traded second baseman Starlin Castro to the Marlins on Monday. With both second and third base now vacant, the Yankees have openings for both Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar, two of their top prospects who finished last year at Triple-A.
Padres acquire: Chase Headley, 3B (MLB) Age: 33
Headley re-joins the Padres after hitting .272 with 12 homers, 61 RBIs and a .758 OPS for the Yankees last year while spending time at both his natural third base and first base. The switch-hitting Headley will turn 34 during the 2018 season and will be in the last year of his contract. He presumably would be the Padres third baseman on Opening Day if they trade Yangervis Solarte, as has been rumored throughout the offseason.
Bryan Mitchell, RHP (Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre) Age: 26
The hard-throwing but erratic Mitchell posted a 5.79 ERA in 20 appearances (one start) with the Yankees last year, with nearly as many walks (13) as strikeouts (17) in 32.2 big league innings. He spent most of the year at Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre. Mitchell works 96-98 mph with his fastball and also mixes in a low 90s cutter and low 80s’ curveball. Control has been a problem, with a career 4.0 walks-per-nine rate and a strikeout rate of just 5.9. Mitchell has primarily been a reliever in the majors but the Padres plan to give him a chance to start. He has a 3.76 ERA in nine career starts and a 5.77 ERA in 39 career relief appearances.
Yankees acquire: Jabari Blash, OF (Triple-A El Paso) Age: 28
The hulking 6-foot-5, 235-pound Blash packs enormous power but has consistently been exploited at the major league level because of his extremely long swing. Originally a Rule 5 pick of the Padres in 2016 whom the Mariners declined to take back, Blash hit 31 homers in 134 career games with Triple-A El Paso but struggled in his major league stints, hitting .200 with eight homers, a .659 OPS and 100 strikeouts in 279 career plate appearances. He is a potential power bat for the Yankees to bring up off their bench if he shows he can tame his strikeouts.