Winter Meetings: Yankees trade Chase Headley back to Padres for minor leaguer

Third baseman Chase Headley spent the first seven-plus years of his big-league career in San Diego and he is headed back as the Padres and Yankees completed a trade on Tuesday at the Winter Meetings. 

Right-handed reliever Bryan Mitchell will also head to the Padres from the Yankees along with Headley. The return for New York is outfielder Jabari Blash, with Headley's remaining salary all headed to San Diego. 

Headley, 33, hit .273/.352/.406 (100 OPS+) with 30 doubles, 12 homers and 61 RBI last season. He's due $13 million in 2018 before hitting free agency. In 20 appearances last season, Mitchell pitched to a 5.79 ERA, 1.68 WHIP and 17 strikeouts against 13 walks in 32 2/3 innings. 

Blash, 28, hit .213/.333/.341 in 195 plate appearances last season. 

Let's look at the fallout. 

Yankees clear salary, another infield spot

In shedding Headley's deal for 2018, the Yankees free up salary that they can use to go after starting pitching (perhaps a CC Sabathia reunion?). Thanks to expiring deals from Sabathia and A-Rod (yep), the Yankees already had salary being cleared from the books and this adds even more to it, though adding the Giancarlo Stanton deal mitigates some of it. 

The biggest takeaway here, though, is now there are seeming vacancies at second base -- after trading Starlin Castro as part of the Stanton deal -- and third base. 

Though he's coming off Tommy John surgery right now, one of those spots will eventually belong to top prospect Gleyber Torres, likely as soon as this season. 

What about a Todd Frazier return? He's a free agent and fit relatively well with this club after being acquired via trade in 2017. 

It seems like this deal could be a nice impetus for the Yankees to sign Sabathia and Frazier while starting the year with Ronald Torreyes at second and plugging in Torres around midseason. 

Padres ... ? 

The offseason is always a work in progress, especially on Tuesday of the Winter Meetings, but it's hard to see the direction here. Apparently the Padres really wanted Mitchell's arm, which has long been said to have upside -- though he's never shown it at the big-league level. 

The acquisition of Headley means moving Yangervis Solarte, possibly to shortstop, though reports indicate they'd like to acquire a shortstop via trade. More likely, Solarte becomes a utility infielder. 

The Padres didn't give up anything of value, but they take on Headley's salary for 2018. That isn't really a big deal because the payroll is stripped the bone, it's just hard to see how this actually helps them. It doesn't hurt at all, it's just kind of there. It has the appearance of a move for the sake of making a move. At least it's action, I guess, and Headley had good success in his previous San Diego stint. Go A.J. Preller! 

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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