Chase Headley = Trade Bait

Let the unfettered speculation and rumor-mongering commence!

Continuing a sort of theme from last week started by RJ’s Fro & Left Coast Bias.

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See what you started, Ron Fowler?

When you start running your mouth to the press about giving Chase Headley an extension, without even talking to Headley or his agent first, bad things start to happen.

Headley told the press that he doesn’t want to negotiate anything during the season. That he wants to concentrate on his play and not be distracted.

Well, guess what’s happening as a result? Out-of-town media has already started with the trade speculation.

Bill Shaikin of the LA Times wrote this on May 5:

Chase Headley might not be long for San Diego

Padres third baseman probably would be in high demand and end up traded to a pennant contender. The Dodgers could certainly use him.

The Dodgers have gotten more offense out of their pitchers than their third basemen. That makes any news about Chase Headley pertinent to the Dodgers.

The new ownership group of the San Diego Padres had been practically invisible all season, until Executive Chairman Ron Fowler popped up Wednesday to tell U-T San Diego the team soon would offer Headley a contract that would make him the richest player in franchise history.

“Indentured servitude went out a long time ago, so we can’t force him to stay here,” Fowler said.

Within 24 hours, Headley said thanks but no thanks, reminding the Padres he had told them he would not discuss a contract during the season.

“I’m trying to throw water on the fire as much as I can,” Headley told reporters.

For the sake of the beaten-down fan base in San Diego, we hope the Padres don’t try to justify a summer trade by saying, “We tried to do a new deal. Not our fault.”

Even if the Padres would trade Headley to the rival Dodgers, a big if, the Dodgers are not bursting with surplus talent on the major league level. The Padres don’t need more prospects. They need to win.

The Dodgers need a bat at the hot corner. Their third basemen are batting .150 with one extra-base hit and a .445 OPS through Friday, with their pitchers batting .174 with two extra-base hits and a .507 OPS.

Headley might be unlikely, but Michael Young might not be. If the Philadelphia Phillies flounder, Young would fit the veteran mold of the Ned Colletti mid-season acquisition. Young had 33 hits, 18 more than the Dodgers third basemen.

I give Shaikin credit. He didn’t try to name which players and/or prospects the Dodgers might be able to entice Josh Byrnes to accept for Headley.

 

Not like Phil Watson of Yahoo! Sports, who wrote this on May 6:

Chase Headley is the Guy New York Yankees Should Target

Third Baseman Could Be a Cornerstone for Next Decade

The New York Yankees have been one of the biggest surprises in baseball through the first month or so of the season.

The Yankees came into the season with four All-Stars (Derek Jeter,Curtis GrandersonMark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez) on the disabled list. Francisco Cervelli, off to a hot start as the Yanks’ new catcher, broke his hand and is out until June. Kevin Youkilis joinedthem on the DL April 30 because of a bad back. The club traded top prospect Jesus Montero to the Seattle Mariners in January 2012 for promising young right-hander Michael Pineda. The next pitch Pineda throws for the Bombers will be his first … and that’s not likely to happen until late June at the earliest as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery.

So with a patchwork lineup of has-beens and never-was-es, the Yankees are 18-12 as of Monday, May 6, and are 1.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East.

Seriously, New York is playing .600 baseball right now with Lyle Overbay, Chris Stewart, Jayson Nix, Eduardo Nunez and Travis Hafner getting regular at-bats.

So who is the one guy out there who could help glue this aging team back together? Who is the one player who might just be available somewhere around the trading deadline in July who could be a franchise cornerstone?

That guy is San Diego Padres’ third baseman Chase Headley.

Headley should have been an All-Star in 2012, but that honor went instead to Padres’ closer Huston Street. Headley hit .286/.376/.498 with 31 home runs (in the power hitter’s graveyard known as Petco Park) and 115 RBIs. He scored 95 runs and stole 17 bases. He was fifth in the National League Most Valuable Player voting while playing for a team that won just 76 games. He won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger.

He’s also 28 years old and under team control for another three seasons; he’s not eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season.

Headley would also fill a need for the Yankees. Despite the money involved (another $114 million through the 2017 season), it seems safe to assume that any production the Yankees get from Rodriguez moving forward should be considered a bonus.

Acquiring Headley would shore up third base for the next decade or so and provide a younger power bat to team with Robinson Cano (providing the team is able to re-sign him before or after he hits free agency this winter).

Headley would provide the Yankees with so much lineup flexibility. He’s a switch-hitter who is strong against right-handed pitching and also very solid against lefties.

Last season, he hit .298/.402/.510 with 20 homers and 69 RBIs as a left-handed hitter; .265/.320/.481 with 11 homers and 46 RBIs as a right-handed hitter. For his career, the lines are .280/.366/.429 and .261/.321/.401, respectively.

As of now, Headley is about the only player who would be worth dipping into the Yankees cache of prospects in the lower levels of the minor leagues, players such as Tyler Austin, Slade Heathcott or Ty Hensley (sorry, San Diego, but Gary Sanchez and Mason Williams have to be considered untouchable at this point).

The reason why is that Chase Headley could be a difference maker in the Bronx for a long time to come.

“…Yankees cache of prospects…”? Do they even have any left after trading for Rodriquez, Ichiro and others? Watson named three, but I’ve never heard of any of them.

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Now you may be asking, “What the hell are you thinking, writing about stupid trade speculation?”

Well, this tweet from Lance Fogel replying to the Yahoo! story was the inspiration.

To be honest with you, I look forward to the ridiculous trade proposals that are sure to surface. If for no other reason than it will give me something to write about.

So sit back, kick your feet up, grab a 6-pack (or two) of your favorite beer and try not to tear your hair out at the roots. Because it’s going to be a rough couple of months for us, Padres fans.

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And this is only the beginning…

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  • GoldenBoy

    But the Padres are winning now. As long as we keep on winning, these discussions will become pointless, cause he won’t be traded. And if we’re in a position to trade him, these national media types have No Clue as to the Haul we’d be asking for. Teams like the Yanks & Dodgers thought we were asking too much last year? Wait till you hear what we’re asking this year! Trading Headley without an absolutely ridiculously return would be P.R. suicide for Fowler & Byrnes. We’re not gonna pull a K.T. style Upton trade. Sorry rich teams.

  • shaynes41

    from the Watson article: “He’s also 28 years old and under team control for another three seasons; he’s not eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season.”

    That’s not right is it? Arbitration after this year (before the 2014 season), and then free agent before the 2015 season, right?

    • You are correct. I’ll make sure to not pay any attention to anything from Watson ever again.

  • Dis

    In all fairness, the Yahoo! article is from their “contributor network,” which usually means written by idiots, and not site employees.

    • Still, it has the Yahoo! Sports name on it. And it’s not from Bleacher Report.

  • Meanwhile, over at Gaslamp Ball, the Chicago Cubs are the latest rumored trade destination thanks to Ken Rosenthal.
    http://www.gaslampball.com/2013/5/8/4312046/chase-headley-is-a-perfect-fit-1-chicago-cubs-edition

    And the Cincinnati Reds are in the mix, according to another “contributor” to Yahoo! Sports.
    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/five-potential-trade-targets-cincinnati-reds-persuing-175900087.html

  • Melvin

    Slade Heathcott and Tyler Austin are rated 63 and 77, respectively in Baseball America’s top 100 prospects this year.

    For what it’s worth, Williams and Sanchez are 32 and 57.

  • Sixer or two? I’ll be knee-deep in bottles of cheap rum and whiskey “celebrating” the potential departure…

    • No, you misunderstand. I’m saying enjoy your favorite adult beverage as the unsubstantiated rumors & rumblings keep coming in over the next two months.