Headley returns to SD, along with righty Mitchell

Padres send outfielder Blash to Yankees; Friars also deal Schimpf to Rays

December 12th, 2017

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- is headed back to San Diego, and right-hander is coming with him.

The Padres and Yankees struck a deal Tuesday morning, sending Headley and Mitchell to San Diego for outfielder . In a separate move, San Diego also sent second baseman to Tampa Bay, clearing room for Mitchell and Headley on the 40-man roster. In return for Schimpf, the Friars landed Minor League infielder Deion Tansel.

Headley was drafted by the Padres in 2005 and spent his first seven seasons in San Diego, before heading to New York at the 2014 non-waiver Trade Deadline (in the deal that netted ). Headley is due to make $13 million in '18, the final season on his contract, and the Padres will pay that in full. The two sides will also split his $1 million assignment bonus.

Video: Padres welcome back Chase Headley

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Headley's arrival makes it increasingly likely that the Padres deal one of their current third-base options -- a group that includes and Solarte. Both can play second base, too, meaning could be on the move as well.

Within minutes of the deal, general manager A.J. Preller said he received calls from opposing clubs asking about the trio. Preller also wouldn't rule out the possibility of Headley being flipped again before the season begins.

"Obviously, Solarte and Spangy, they've got some versatility as well, bouncing around, moving over [to second]," Preller said. "I talked to Chase this morning and explained to him that we're going to look at the situation and figure out if there's space for everybody, was very honest, telling him we're going to talk to other clubs as well.

"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."

Mitchell, meanwhile, is a starting pitcher in the Padres' eyes, despite four seasons with New York spent mostly in the bullpen. In 20 appearances last season, Mitchell posted a 5.79 ERA.

The 26-year-old righty is out of options, meaning he's likely to make the Opening Day roster. The Padres' rotation is far from full, and Preller will add at least two more starting pitchers before Spring Training. But for now, Mitchell appears to have an inside track to a rotation spot.

"He's a guy that our scouting group had talked about acquiring the last three years," Preller said. "It's 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."

As for Blash, he was likely the odd-man out in a crowded outfield. A Rule 5 Draft selection in 2015, Blash hit .200/.323/.336 in parts of two seasons with the Padres, but he spent more time in Triple-A. Nobody questioned his prodigious power, but Blash simply didn't make enough contact against big league pitching, striking out 36 percent of the time.

Headley, meanwhile, brings some much-needed on-base ability to a Padres lineup that's severely lacking in that department. His .352 mark last year would've led the team. Plus, he brings a veteran bat to the youngest lineup in baseball.

"We're building toward a team that can contend, year in, year out," Preller said. "We're going to need some players who are going to help us get there from an on-field standpoint and also from setting the tone with some of our younger players."

In 2012, Headley put forth the best offensive season by a Padre this decade. He batted .286 with 31 homers and a league-leading 115 RBIs, winning the National League Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards in the process. The Padres are hopeful he can rekindle some of that old form.

Of course, Headley wasn't the only infielder the Padres acquired on Tuesday. They snagged Tansel from Tampa Bay in a largely procedural move. Schimpf was likely to be removed from the 40-man roster anyway.

"Some of these moves, you get a roster crunch a little bit, which I think is a positive thing," Preller said. "That [trade] freed it up for us. And also, in Ryan's case, it gives him opportunity to go elsewhere, see what that leads to for him."

Tansel, a 32nd-round pick out of Toledo in 2016, batted .277/.336/.403 for Hudson Valley in the New York-Penn League this season, while seeing time at second, third and short.