Chase Headley Extension, Jedd Gyorko Position Change on the Horizon?

Chase Headley is the best Padres hitter right now.  After Sunday’s game, he is hitting .293/.432/.603.  He has 4 home runs and six doubles on the season.  His OPS is highest of anyone on the team right now.  Yet, Headley has been the one mainstay of the Padres who has not yet received a contract extension.  Headley has sat back and watched Cameron Maybin, Nick Hundley, and Cory Luebke all receive extensions.  The Padres third baseman may be due to get his contract now if we consider a relatively quiet move the Padres made with Jedd Gyorko this weekend.

In Sunday’s game against the Midland RockHounds, Jedd Gyorko moved from third base to second.  In the top of the fifth, Gyorko made the move, and Edinson Rincon replaced him at third base.  The moves seemed to have stemmed from an injury Jaff Decker experienced in the second inning while chasing down a triple.  He remained in the game until the fifth, then the moves began.  Cody Decker went out to replace Jaff in right field, second baseman Dean Anna moved to left field, and Gyorko moved to second.  However, Gyorko’s move may not have solely been in response to injury.

Chase Headley has been the one Padres who has yet to receive a contract extension despite his performance and importance to the team. (Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE)

According to a source close to the situation who did not wish to publicly comment because nothing has been made official, Jedd Gyorko will be spending a lot more time at second base going forward.  While the Padres have not made an official announcement, Dan Hayes of North County Times seems to have confirmed the news via Twitter.  If that does in fact happen, it would seem the Padres have plans to keep Chase Headley around.  The Padres GM, Josh Byrnes, commented on the possibility of a Headley extension on Saturday.

“We still control Chase until 2014,” Josh Byrnes said in an interview with Friarhood Radio.  ”Of course, people speculate with people like Jedd Gyorko, James Darnell, and Logan Forsythe.”

Each of the players Brynes mentioned has experience at some level or another playing third base.  Darnell has been moved, Forsythe has been moved, and Jedd Gyorko could be moved.

“Obviously we’re going to keep guys that are playing well,” Byrnes continued.  ”Chase has clearly been our best player so far, and that’s not lost on us.”

Gyorko is currently hitting .237/.357/.356 with 2 home runs in 16 games.  It has been a slow start for the young prospect.  Gyorko was ranked the third best prospect in the organization back in December by Baseball Prospectus.

For most of the offseason and the start of the regular season, it has seemed the Padres were content on letting Headley play out his arbitration-eligible years in San Diego then trading him.  After all, they had highly-touted prospects coming through the farm system.  The problem with that plan was Headley’s development.  He is quickly becoming one of the better third baseman in the league – probably underrated because he plays half his games at Petco Park.

With the position change by Jedd Gyorko, which as Dan Hayes pointed out is predicated on a lack of talent in the farm system at second base, it’s easy to see the Padres’ plans for Headley changing.  Headley will likely command more money than Cameron Maybin, so that could have been a prohibitive factor in negotiations, but now, with the Padres offense streaky at best, the team may be looking to lock up their best hitter.

Headley was drafted 66th overall in the 2005 draft by the Padres.  He is a career .269/.346/.398 hitter, but as improved in all three categories in recent years.  Gyorko was drafted 59th overall by the Padres in the 2010 draft.  He is a .318/.389/.507 hitter in 224 minor league games.

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Topics: Chase Headley, James Darnell, Jedd Gyorko, Logan Forsythe, San Diego Padres

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