Well, I asked the question. And, I asked for an honest answer. And, I guess I got one? Not one person I know of has presented a solid reason, case, point or answer as to why we should trade Chase Headley. It also looks like the press has finally decided to layoff the topic, and instead focus on resigning him alongside the possibility of moving emerging rookie Jedd Gyorko to second base. These are both solid options. I like them. They make sense. Move the rookie, not the veteran. Who can forget the great experiment of Phil Nevin to 1st base, and Klesko to Left Field, making room for 3rd base uber-prospect Sean “Chop Chop” Burroughs? Classic Kevin Towers move, and classic Kevin Towers result.
Honestly, I’m not sure where to start with this post. I assumed I would have to use this whole thing defending a Chase Headley extension, but I don’t, and that makes me feel like we’re all starting to keep the faith. Like at the end of Hook when Robin Williams flies away from Neverland and creepily whispers, “Thank you for believing.” We’ve done it. Bangarang.
The real answer to my above question is that there is no answer. We can’t possibly predict what will happen next season. We can do our best and fight about it and debate about it (that’s part of the fun), but we can never be sure. We can look at progressive stats, and reflect on past transgressions or triumphs, but the truth is we just don’t know. And we won’t. Before the beginning of the season would you have bet on the White Sox or Orioles to be in the positions they’re in right now? I doubt it. Would have bet on Chase Headley having the season he’s currently having? Probably not. So, why move him and bet on prospects? The Yankees might not always be good, but you’ll always be quicker to lay $100 on them than you would the Nationals. You’ll never be sure, but it’s always safer to go with what you know.
I myself have been back and forth on Chase Headley this whole season. I’ve celebrated him from afar, touting his success, but also realizing he’s been the best player on a terrible team. But, as the season dragged along and the only real pre-all-star break highlights came when we released players, Chase Headley’s patient bat started to give fans something to enjoy. In fact, Chase was beginning to have the best year of his career. When the all-star team was announced and Chase was left off the NL squad, the local media went nuts with claims of ‘snubbery’. I wrote that honestly he didn’t deserve to be on the all-star team at that point, and I still believe it. However, Chase didn’t believe that and he seemed to take the ‘snub’ personal. Post-all-star break Headley went on a rampage. At first glance you’d think he wanted to shove it in the NL’s face. At second glance you’d think he was trying his best to play his way out of San Diego. Hoping for greener pastures, greener pockets and a little publicity. After the trade deadline, when the Padres did exactly what they should have done and asked a steep price for his bat, Chase seemed annoyed – almost disappointed. But, then there’s that third glance, and this one seemed to promise a much clearer view of what might be happening: Chase Headley was becoming the Captain.
Since Eckstein and Adrian left, the team had a tough time finding an identity. There seemed to be no leadership from the batboy all the way up to the ownership. Then all of a sudden, not only was everyone talking about Chase’s hitting, they we’re talking about the emergence of the Padres as a whole: The team that owned the best record in the NL since the all-star break. The team whose young stars we’re blooming a tad quicker than expected. The team who all of a sudden began to play like they cared, like they mattered, like they we’re proud to be Padres. Carlos Quentin wanted to stay, Huston Street was on board, and all eyes were on Chase – the guy who seemed to be leading the charge and playing out of his mind.
Yet, people STILL wanted to trade him.
I’ve been pushing since we got rid of the O-Dog, that we play the young guys, lock up the veterans, and be patient. And it’s not like I’m some visionary. I’m simply championing what has appeared to work for smaller market teams over the past decade. Up till this point the new ownership has seemed to agree with me. After what seemed like an endless effort to persuade fans and friends alike to keep Chase and not trade him away for two triple-A relievers, my point is finally becoming gospel. The new word is Byrnes wants to go after a top shelf starter, namely Hiroki Kuroda. I like that idea. You know who else will like that idea? Chase Headley. He’s now a leader on the hottest team in the NL, which for a split-second looked like they had a chance at a Wild Card spot. A team that is progressing faster than most thought and a lot of credit must be given to those crafty veterans. The ones all the radio guys almost begged the Padres to trade. I guess there’s a reason radio is a dying medium.
You need solid leadership to lead young talent to develop into a team that can build on a foundation of camaraderie, talent and drive. And as fans, our only job is to keep supporting. Keep trusting the player movement (or lack thereof) and keep believing.
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