This might sound odd, but one of Brian Cashman’s best trades netted the Yankees Jabari Blash.
That’s right, that Jabari Blash. The same one who has a major league slash line of .201/.322/.332 in parts of three major league seasons. The same player who spent barely three months in the Yankees system before the team shipped him off the Los Angeles Angles for the always coveted PTBNL – player to be named later.
But it’s how the Yankees got Blash that was pure genius on Cashman’s part.
Remember, back in December, the Yankees traded Chase Headley and Bryan Mitchell to San Diego for Blash. From the Yankees’ perspective, this was a pure salary dump. They didn’t want Headley’s $13 million salary on the books, and since the Padres were so enamored with Mitchell, the Yanks included him in the deal.
Here’s what Padres general manager A.J. Preller told MLB.com after he made the trade:
On Mitchell: He’s got “really good stuff. It’s big fastball velocity, and he’s got a really good breaking pitch in there, too, a power curve. [He’s] a guy, 26 years old, four years of control – we compared that to the free-agent market, and he was probably more intriguing in terms of the upside and how he fit.”
On Headley: “From our standpoint, he’s a professional hitter, a professional bat, experience playing in New York under the bright lights there for a winning club. We’ll kind of see how the next few months play out.”
So how has this played out? The Padres have released Headley after he limped out of the gate to a .115/.233/.133 line. While a still a small sample size – just 60 plate appearances – Headley whiffed 20 times against six walks. In short, he was miserable.
Mitchell? He’s been sent to the pen after starting 0-3 with a 6.21 ERA and learning what the Yankees already knew – he’s never been able to harness the promise of that live right arm.
So why is this such a home run for the Yankees, even though they got nothing in return? A few reasons:
That $13 million helped get the team under the $197 million luxury tax threshold. With that extra money, the team had room for Giancarlo Stanton and Neil Walker, two players far more valuable than Headley.
By dumping Mitchell, the Yankees cleared a valuable 40-man roster spot. Otherwise, the Yankees would have either had to release him or carry him as dead weight in the bullpen.
In this case, the Yankees made out like bandits, not because of what they got, but because of the other moves they were able to make as a result.
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