Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Headley's future in San Diego
By Jason A. Churchill
While spring training results don't mean a whole lot, if the San Diego Padres were ever going to be given the green light to trade Chase Headley, Jedd Gyorko is certainly flipping the switch. The infielder, who played shortstop as an amateur but has split time between second base and third base as a pro, could replace Headley, if and when the Padres move the third baseman in what would certainly net a lucrative return.
Headley, coming off a career year, is slated for free agency following the 2014 season, and if there is no long-term deal in the offing, the Friars may see an opportunity to cash in on his value, which may never be higher than it is right now -- having hit 31 homers a year ago and having two years left until he's eligible to hit the open market. Gyorko's early-spring performance alone -- 9-for-33 (.273) with three doubles and three homers -- isn't going to impact the club's decisions, but his presence on the 25-man roster might.
A natural third baseman, Gyorko's transition to second base has worked to some extent, as Spencer Fordin of MLB.com writes, and he may beat out Logan Forsythe to be the team's starter at the position come April. In the long-term, though, Gyorko is a better fit at third base. The question is: Will he hit for enough power to profile at the hot corner? He smacked 30 home runs at Triple-A a year ago, but 24 of them came while playing at Triple-A Tucson in the Pacific coast League, one of the best bandboxes in the minors. Gyorko did hit 11 of those 24 on the road, but just two came in neutral or pitcher's enviroments.
Headley will earn $8.575 million this season and has one more go-round with arbitration next winter, which could net him upwards of $12 million -- or more than 20 percent of the club's total payroll. We discussed which clubs could be in on Headley if the Padres decide to make him available.