Looking up at the San Diego sky. (Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

Headley for Upton and the Move for the Sake of the Move


Are we really so desperate that we’re looking at creating a hole to fill another hole with a player who is full of mechanical holes? Have we dipped so far down the list or succumbed to the odd wishes of Padres fans, who have all but decreed they want the organization to make some kind of big move? But, is that move a move that would eventually, if not almost immediately force us to make another move? The fact that the team has been talking to the Diamondbacks about a Headley-Upton deal since July, and no one really knew about it, is wonderful and at the same time unnerving. It further backs up my opinion that Josh Byrnes is a smart GM, who is always thinking. However, it’s unnerving cause this move smells a little like a move for the sake of making a move.

Now, don’t get me wrong. This trade would be utterly fantastic if this were 2008 or even 2009, but now? No thank you. It’s like Kevin Towers is still trying to tear down the Padres from hundreds of miles away. Back in 2008, Justin Upton and Chase Headley were the up and coming stars of the National League. People expected huge things from those two. Headley looks to have finally found the path that was laid out for him six years ago, but Upton is a different story. He’s an enigma. An issue. He’s frustrating. One year he’ll smack 26 dingers and hit .300, the next he’ll drop down to 17 dingers and .273, then back up, then back down. His stolen base and RBI totals are average, especially for a player of his potential. His dedication to the game and his drive to get better seems to always be in question. Although he seems to try harder and play better than his brother, B.J. Upton, that’s not really saying much. He leaves the fans wanting, and why on Earth would the Padres need another player like that? Haven’t we had enough of the veteran players looking for a bounce back year, or a change of scenery? Aren’t we done with the Orlando Hudson’s and Jorge Cantu’s? Not to mention, Upton isn’t even close to a rookie anymore. If you haven’t figured out how to be consistent by year six, then you are who you are. It’s not like he’s a catcher or a closer, as inhabitants of those positions naturally take a little longer to come into their own. Upton has had the at-bats, and he’s had the games to figure it out. I’m not saying Justin Upton is a bad player. He’s not. He’s a good outfielder with mind-boggling potential – just like his brother. Teams would love to have Justin Upton patrolling Right Field, and so would I. But, for the high price of Chase Headley? Nope.

Of course there would be a package deal. But, I fear we would be packaging for Upton instead of the other way around, based solely on the fact that we haven’t had a solid corner outfielder since Tony Gwynn. Regardless, the thought process I imagine is that we currently have a surplus of infielders and an outfield made up of Triple-A heroes and knee surgeries. Yes, we need some help in the outfield, but filling that hole by shipping away the (hopefully) one solid player we’ll have in 2013 only creates one larger hole followed by the possibility of even more holes. (AUTHOR’S NOTE: I’m fighting the urge to make a Shia Labeouf reference here.) If the deal went through Headley would presumably be replaced by Jedd Gyorko. And although people really like Gyorko, and he has a lot of upside, the sample size is just too small to actually know if he can hack it everyday. And, what if Upton comes to town and can’t hit? It happens all the time, and he already has a reputation of being inconsistent. This is a trade that could create more problems than it can solve.

Of course it seems very unlikely that this trade would actually happen. However, the fact that they’ve been talking since July scares me into thinking this is something that eventually could.

Of course there’s always the chance that Chase could return to his previous form this season, and Upton hits forty homeruns for the D’Backs, but that’s why speculation is so much fun: It’s infuriating. So, to all those people who were hoping the Padres would make a big move: You may just get your wish! Then we’ll all learn if we should have been more careful with what we wished for.

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