Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Chase Headley Contract Offer: How Much is He Worth?

 

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported this week that the Padres made a contract offer to Chase Headley this winter. The club reportedly offered him a three-year deal valued at between $33 million and $39 million. Apparently Headley’s camp was looking for considerably more, although neither the Padres nor Headley’s agent have confirmed Heyman’s report.  Currently, Headley is making just over $10.5 million for 2014.

How much is Chase Headley worth?

Headley is currently the 6th highest paid third baseman in baseball according to Spotrac.com:

1) David Wright NYM – $20 million
2) Adrian Beltre TEX – $17 million
3) Aramis Ramirez MIL – $16 million
4) Ryan Zimmerman WAS – $14 million
5) Martin Prado AZ – $11 million
6) Chase Headley SD – $10.25 million
7) Pablo Sandoval SF – $8.25 million
8) Evan Longoria TB – $7.5 million
9) Juan Uribe SF – $7.5 million
10) David Freese LAA – $5.05 million
11) Alberto Callaspo OAK – $4.875 million

Here are the average numbers (BA/HR/RBI/SB) from 2011 – 2013 for the players above:

1) Wright .292 / 18 / 71/ 15 (Two injury years in there. Career .301 / 22 / 88 / 18)
2) Beltre .312 / 33/ 100 / 1
3) Ramirez .299 / 22 / 83 / 3
4) Zimmerman .281 / 21 / 74/ 5
5) Prado .282 / 12 / 70 / 8
6) Headley .274 / 16 / 70 / 13
7) Sandoval .291 / 16 / 71 / 1
8) Longoria .264 / 27 / 81 / 1
9) Uribe .236 / 6 / 32 / 2
10) Freese .283 / 13 / 65 / 2
11) Callaspo .266 / 9 / 52 / 4

Based on these numbers, it looks like Headley is slotted right where he should be. The top four, plus Longoria, constitute the upper echelon of third baseman. The next group consisting of Headley, Prado, and Sandoval have stats remarkably similar to each other. Headley is earning what other third baseman with similar production earn.

But three-year averages don’t tell the real story. Headley’s career can be pretty clearly divided into two distinct levels of production:
1) August and September of 2012 (averaged 9.5 homers and 30 RBI per month)
2) The rest of his career (averaged 2 homers and 10.4 RBI per month)

For the sake of argument, let’s take away his August and September of 2012. His career averages would look something like this:
.264 BA / 10 HR / 62 RBI / 13 steals

It drops him down into the next tier of players, down with David Freese and Alberto Callaspo, who make about $5 million a year.

The Padres offered Headley $11-13 million a year.  By doing so, they acknowledged his outstanding two-month streak, and offered to reward him for the four years following it.  Despite the fact that there has been little indication that Headley will repeat it.

If Heyman’s report is accurate, Headley’s agent must have been looking for something in the range of $15 million a year. This is comparable with Yadier Molina, Chase Utley, Carlos Beltran, Justin Upton,  and José Bautista.

The Chase Headley of late 2012 belongs in that group.  The Chase Headley we’ve seen over the rest of his career does not.

For more on Chase Headley, see The Chase Headley Problem.

 

 

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