LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Yankees are continuing to make noise at the Winter Meetings, jumping on an opportunity to clear salary space for future moves by swapping third baseman Chase Headley and right-hander Bryan Mitchell to the Padres on Tuesday in exchange for outfielder Jabari Blash.The Yankees also
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Yankees are continuing to make noise at the Winter Meetings, jumping on an opportunity to clear salary space for future moves by swapping third baseman Chase Headley and right-hander Bryan Mitchell to the Padres on Tuesday in exchange for outfielder Jabari Blash.
The Yankees also sent $500,000 to the Padres in the deal. San Diego is assuming the $13 million remaining on Headley's contract, which ends after the 2018 season. General manager Brian Cashman said that the deal will help the team add at least one starting pitcher while still keeping the team's 2018 payroll below the luxury tax threshold of $197 million.
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"We have more flexibility today than we had prior to this trade," Cashman said. "We did it with knowledge that we have some hungry, talented, inexperienced kids ready to prove that they can take that next step. At that same time, there might be some opportunities that exist by free agency or trade that could make us gravitate in a different direction. So we'll see."
New York has agreed to a one-year deal with CC Sabathia, according to a source, while also exploring the trade market. The club has contacted the Tigers about right-hander Michael Fulmer, the 2016 American League Rookie of the Year, and is thought to have expressed interest in D-backs left-hander Patrick Corbin.
"We're trying. We're working real hard at it," manager Aaron Boone said. "I think it's something that we need to do, and we're trying to do. Hopefully, at some point we'll get a guy or two in the mix."
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The 28-year-old Blash is a career .200/.323/.336 hitter through two seasons with San Diego, hitting eight homers with 21 RBIs in 99 games. A right-handed hitter with power, Blash could be utilized as corner depth in the Yankees' outfield, having played 51 career games in right field and 22 games in left field.
Originally drafted by the Mariners in the eighth round in 2010, Blash has hit .260/.378/.513 with 140 home runs, 432 RBIs and 392 walks in 685 games over eight Minor League seasons. His 106 Minor League home runs over the past five seasons are tied for eighth most in the Minors in that span.
The move reduces the Yankees' 40-man roster to 39 players and spells a return to San Diego for the 33-year-old Headley, who hit .273/.352/.406 with 12 homers and 61 RBIs in 147 games last season. Headley moved from third base to first base after Todd Frazier was acquired from the White Sox in July.
"He obviously had some big hits for us in the postseason," Cashman said. "I wish him the best of luck. High-character man, great family. San Diego obviously has had a lot of interest in Bryan Mitchell as well."
Mitchell, who turns 27 in April, was 1-1 with a 5.79 ERA in 20 games (one start) in the big leagues last year. A 16th-round pick by the Yankees in the 2009 Draft, scouts have raved about Mitchell's stuff, but he has had trouble remaining healthy.
Headley's departure could set up a reunion with Frazier, who is currently a free agent and hit .222/.365/.423 in 66 games for the Yankees. Cashman said on Tuesday that he has spoken with Frazier's agent, Brodie Van Wagenen. It is unclear if the Yankees would offer the multi-year commitment that Frazier covets.
Another option is Miguel Andujar, who is the team's No. 5 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com and played briefly at the big league level last season. The organization did seem to have some concerns about Andujar's developing defensive skills, although he's reputed to be an impact hitter.
"He's come a long way defensively," Cashman said. "He's worked extremely hard on it."
The Yankees also have a hole at second base after dealing Starlin Castro to the Marlins in the Giancarlo Stanton trade. Cashman has named Thairo Estrada, Gleyber Torres, Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade as candidates for that vacancy, and some of those names could see time at third base as well.
"I'm certainly comfortable with the talent level that's about ready to go," Boone said. "Whether we give them some time kind of depends on what moves we make, or don't make, here in the coming months."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.