Friday, March 8, 2013
Potential suitors for Headley
By Jason A. Churchill
We've speculated the possibility for months, but now a report has surfaced that the San Diego Padres are starting to listen to offers for third baseman Chase Headley.
The 28-year-old could be an ideal addition to a number of clubs. Let's roll through those that have the need and/or may be best equipped to land Headley, assuming the Padres are looking for young talent in return, the general method of operation in such situations.
New York Yankees
With Alex Rodriguez's future uncertain and Kevin Youkilis in town on a one-year deal, Headley makes some sense for the Yankees. He's under club control through 2014 and fits the ballpark well. He's durable, having played in 156 or more games three times in the last four years, and provides versatility, both at the plate as a switch hitter and in the field, where he's experienced in left field on top of developing into a solid defender at the hot corner.
The question then becomes about the trade cost, whether or not the Yankees have what the Padres want in exchange for their best player and whether or not GM Brian Cashman ultimately wants to pay that price for two years of Headley.
The Phillies appear to be looking to make one last run with their current core and if they are short anywhere it's run production. They picked up Michael Young from the Rangers and he's penciled in at third base, but there may be enough at-bats to go around considering the injury risk of second baseman Chase Utley and shortstop Jimmy Rollins, especially considering the possibility that the 37-year-old Young shouldn't be playing everyday anyway, as suggested by .312 on-base percentage a year ago.
Unfortunately, Philly is so short on young talent that it may be difficult for them to compete with other clubs interested in Headley. One idea might be for the club to trade Cliff Lee for young talent and then flip their return for Headley.
The Cubs have the need, the young talent to acquire Headley and the long-term finances to lock him up long term if they were to acquire him, perhaps making the Cubs among the favorites. Of course, we have no idea what Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and company think of Headley, but he does fit in theory.
Los Angeles Angels
The Halos are using Alberto Callaspo at third base and while Headley would represent an upgrade, the club's few remaining trade assets may be earmarked for starting pitching, instead. Besides, Callaspo is inexpensive and did post a decent .331 on-base percentage in 2012.
The Braves have been reluctant to move their top young arms in deals the past few years, but they may have enough to entice the Padres if they value Headley enough to part with the likes of Julio Teheran in a package deal. After Chipper Jones retired and having moved Martin Prado in the Justin Upton trade, third base is somewhat of a question for the Braves. Chris Johnson and Juan Francisco appear to be set to platoon at the position.
Clubs such as Oakland and Baltimore could have interest to some level and have young talent to trade, but neither appear to be great fits at this time. The Orioles are on the lookout for veteran starting pitching while the A's may be maxed out in terms of salary and expendable young players. The Orioles would likely have to move J.J. Hardy and then slide over Manny Machado to his natural position at shortstop to make room for Headley. Such a scenario seems unlikely at this stage of the offseason.
The Padres could simply be taking the temperature of the market right now, too, perhaps setting themselves up to negotiate with intent over the summer. If they plan to trade Headley after extension talks went nowhere they stand to get more in return if they deal him before the July 31 deadline so he can impact two pennant races, rather than one.
We're likely just getting started here, so strap it in and stay with us as Headley's trade market develops.