I’ve written here before that I thought it would be a mistake to trade Chase Headley, but that I also thought the
Padres were going to do so. However, when the team moved Jedd Gyorko‘s position in Double-A, it seemed they were intent on keeping Headley and having Gyorko play another infield position. Now, with well over a quarter of the season gone, the Padres toiling away in last place, and a new owner on the horizon, it seems the team will move Headley at some point.
Headley is 28 years old and has a career line of .268/.345/.397. He’s not a slugger, but would probably show more power with another team. He gets on base and plays solid defense. He’s never been an All-Star though. What could the Padres get in return for him? Based on interest levels last year, many teams think very highly of Headley despite what his raw numbers may indicate. But there are two things to consider here. 1) Who may be interested? 2) What can the Padres get in return?
Teams that could be interested in Headley include the Rockies, Astros, A’s, Braves, Diamondbacks, Giants, Reds, and Indians. Each team is looking for some offense at third base, and Headley has already been worth 1.8 WAR so far this season. Of those teams, the Padres would need to look for the one that can provide the perfect mix of young talent, but Major League readiness.
In return for Headley, San Diego can’t simply take on a slew of prospects that will take years to develop. Sure, restocking the farm system is great and a necessity, but the Padres are looking to compete in 2013 or 2014. They need to add the final pieces to that plan, or they may be perpetually stuck in rebuilding mode. Whoever they were to get doesn’t have to be on a Major League roster just yet, but that player should be pretty close to ready for a call-up. They should be looking for someone who would probably get a call-up late this year to test the waters, but would make their true contributions next season.
Of course, this is all easier said than done. These teams may not have the types of players the Padres needs/want. Most of the top prospects in each of these organizations are either too coveted or too far away from the Majors to be realistic or of interest to the Padres. The Rockies have a good farm system, but none of their prop sects look to really make an impact until three or four years from now. The Diamondbacks have some highly-covetted prospects that should make an impact this year – Trevor Bauer anyone? – but they would not part with these players. We know the Reds have a good system. Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal are proving that. The Indians, the Braves, and the A’s all may be viable options, but of course there are flaws there too. The Braves still have Chipper Jones. Headley would have to wait out the rest of the year, and his spot may not be all that secure with the young talent Atlanta has coming up. The A’s have Scott Sizemore coming back next season from injury. Would they take on Headley for half a season? Probably not. The Indians look intent on pursuing Kevin Youkilis, but should they not land him, Headley would be a nice fit there. They are looking to compete this year, and Headley has enough pop to at least make Cleveland take a closer look.
Headley has been a solid contributor for the Padres since he was called-up. If the Padres do in fact deal him, they will need to be very careful on their return. Fans love him, and they will make their displeasure known if the team does not get someone who can contribute quickly and help the Padres win games.