Padres Position Analysis: Third Base

Chase Headley is the first real infield candidate the Padres can build around. He has shown continued improvement at the hot corner and may provide the Padres years of plus talent at the position.

But what if he doesn’t?

First, let’s look at what Headley has done in his career and what his trend lines looks like.

Headley is not a prototypical third baseman and probably never will be. While Petco Park stifles power numbers, Headley’s career high in home runs of 12 is a number you’d more expect from a shortstop or second baseman. However, he gets on base, scores runs, and is reducing his strikeout totals.

Below are Headley’s yearly OPS numbers and his trendline:

As you can see, the trendline is sloping up which is promising. Yet, the consistent increase in OPS isn’t there yet.

Now look at his yearly WAR and trendline:

Again, we see an upward trendline but an overall graph of peaks and valleys. I’d like to see Headley consistently putting up at least 3 WAR.

Finally, let’s look at Headley’s strikeouts:

He reduced his strikeouts dramatically last season. He will need to continue this trend as long as he isn’t a power hitter. If he develops power, the strikeouts can be forgiven. That seems unlikely though.

Overall, at 27 years old, Headley provides the Padres a very good option at third. On the other hand though, he does have some solid trade value. He is under team control until 2015, but his contract value is starting to climb. If the Padres can renegotiate the contract for somewhere around four years, $12.5 million, they’d be in great shape. If they can’t and have to rely on arbitration, Headley may start to out-price himself. With Jedd Gyorko waiting in the wings, the Padres may not be completely against trading Headley.

Headley is a good fit for the Padres, but Josh Byrnes and the team will have to weigh the cost/benefit of keeping him verse trading him.

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Tags: Chase Headley Jedd Gyorko Padres Third Base

  • brian bomm

    I would agree Chase Headley is only a prototype player, and we’ve already seen his best day. But the problem here is we need a HR hitting 3rd baseman. I still think Kevin Kouzmanoff while playing here in SD, is one of the best we’ve ever seen at the position.

    Bring back the Kouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  • ChickenFriars

    I loved Kouz while he was in SD, but he is another player that probably peaked while he was here. The problem with bringing in a HR hitting 3rd baseman is the park. The Padres can’t attract free agent power hitters. The only way to bring those types of players over would be to overpay them. As you know, the Padres don’t spend that much as it is, so there’s no chance in them overpaying a power-hitter just to get him to play at Petco. What they can do, is develop minor league power and bring those guys up with the expectation that their power numbers will dip at the big league level. I really think the only way we will see another 25+ HR guy in San Diego again is going to be through minor league player development. I’d be interested to hear what you think. @brian bomm