Every now and then, life forces us into situations where we have to take a step back, re-evaluate everything we know to be true, and revise our plan. If we’re to be at our best, we should frequently evaluate our situations and see what we can do to be more successful. When you’re comfortable with a mediocre status quo, you end up with Kevin Towers as your GM for a decade. When you’re overzealous and unwilling to establish ANY system, you turn into the Oakland Raiders. The Padres aren’t necessarily at that point, as I’m sure they already know what they would like to do…however, I am; is extending Headley really the best course of action?
I know, I know…myself, Nate, and many others have been banging on the Headley drum for several years now. I’m a massive hypocrite for even bringing up at all, right? I’m just going on a journey, and I want to take you along. A few days back, Avenging Jack Murphy had a few pieces (which you can read here and here, in order) analyzing Headley and came to the conclusion that Chase Headley isn’t suddenly a terrible player, he’s pressing. And experiencing a little bit of bad luck. Reasonable conclusion when you use the eye test, as well.
As recently as a week ago, it was realistic to discuss Chase’s early season struggles in 2012 and how his numbers in 2013 weren’t all that much different. A week later? We’re starting to see a definite drop. Through June 9, 2012: .260/.370/.438/.807. Through June 9, 2013 .230/.336/.361/.697. Back when Chase was just terrible in 2011 (or whatever the narrative was before July of last year): .274/.376/.385/.761. And so on, and so forth. Basically, Chase always has been a much better hitter than we’re seeing now.
In 2012, the trade deadline hung over Headley and proved to be an admitted distraction. If we’re to conclude that it’s same situation this year, the main concern has to be his inability to overcome this distraction. Anyone who has been put into a situation where their future is, essentially, out of their hands will tell you that there are few greater stresses. In this instance, Headley and his agent have created some of the distraction in a clear negotiating ploy. What has been described as a move intended to keep the focus on the field clearly isn’t working. And where we’ve lambasted the Padres for going against Headley’s wishes to not discuss a contract midseason, it’s only fair to point out when this strategy really doesn’t seem to be working out.
Conclusion: Is the time right? Will it ever be? Have the Padres and Chase Headley doomed one another? Will they? This isn’t a particularly thorough examination, and I’m leaning a bit on Fangraphs and AJM’s great work. I don’t get too worked up over numbers affected by injury or slumps. If there’s a track record of decline (Richard, Clayton), then I’ll be concerned. Headley’s pressing, has been a productive player, and will continue to be. If Fowler really wants to get an extension done in 48 hours, Chase should listen. Get this done, get this behind him, and let’s move forward with this beautiful, blossoming infield. And whatever the Padres end up doing with Headley, they should DEFINITELY lock up Gyorko right now.