MLB Winter Meetings: Chase Headley and Bryan Mitchell Heading to the San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres and New York Yankees reached a deal at the Winter Meetings Tuesday, that will send Chase Headley and Bryan Michell out west. The Yankees will receive Jabari Blash in return, though the trade is clearly more of a salary dump. The trade opens up some interesting narratives for both San Diego and New York.
On the surface, this trade provides immediate help for the San Diego Padres. The return of third baseman Headley should offer some stability in a young infield. San Diego’s third baseman last year, Yongervis Solarte, batted .255 with 18 homers and 64 RBI. Headley posted a .273 average with 12 homers and 61 RBI. While their numbers were similar, Headley’s proven leadership should go a long way with the Padres. With Headley now in the mix, the Padres could look to move Solarte to another position, or another team entirely.
Headley’s best years at the plate came in a San Diego Padres uniform. He was drafted by the team and played there from 2007 to 2014 until he was traded to the New York Yankees. His best year came in 2012 when he batted .286 with 31 homers, 115 RBI, and 17 stolen bases. Though Headley was popular among Padres fans, the lengthy trade process he went through with the team soured the relationship a bit. Now, the veteran returns with some postseason experience.
Also joining the Friars is right-handed pitcher Bryan Mitchell. The 26-year-old has worked as both a starter and reliever in the past four seasons. Though his numbers don’t jump off the page, Mitchell has shined at times in the minors. A change of scenery may do wonders for him, as he should get a shot at a rotation spot.
For the New York Yankees, this Winter Meetings trade is clearly setting up for something bigger. After trading away Headley and Starlin Castro, the second and third base spots are left vacant. While Cashman could easily have something up his sleeve, there are also internal options. As it stands now, top prospect Gleyber Torres is the front-runner for one of the spots. Miguel Andujar, Tyler Wade, and Ronald Torreyes should also factor in one way or another.
If they do decide to look elsewhere, a reunion with Todd Frazier is a possibility. Frazier spent the second half of the season with the team and provided some much-needed flexibility in the infield. With the recent mega-trade for Giancarlo Stanton, Cashman has shown he’s not afraid to work the trade market. Though unlikely, thinking he could pull off a deal for Manny Machado doesn’t seem too far-fetched.
Cashman and the Yankees clearly have a bigger goal in mind. Trading Headley helps shed salary and gives the New York Yankees a chance to stay under the luxury tax threshold. Doing so would now be an even more impressive feat after taking on Stanton’s contract. It’s unlikely anyone involved in this deal will make a huge impact in 2018. However, whatever is expected to happen next likely will.