With the non-waiver trading deadline for baseball exactly 32 days from today, talk from the 24-hour news cycle continues to throw names of possible trade chips out, hoping that they will land somewhere when the dusts settles. One of those popular discussion chips is San Diego Padres’ third baseman Chase Headley. If someone was on the outside looking in, they might think that Headley is looking for a way out of Southern California, with a landing spot with a contender. Headley doesn’t believe that a change of venue, a different league, or team is going to snap him out of a season-long slump. Whether he remains in San Diego, or gets dealt somewhere else, he’s confident that he’ll return to form and be the run-produced the Padres’ had always envisioned him as:
“I don’t look at it like, ‘Man, I gotta get out of here to be me again.’ I’m going to be me again, whether it’s here or somewhere else. If I’m me, that’s good. Playing the way I can play, I know that’s valuable.”
The latest rumors have Headley heading to Toronto to join the first place Blue Jays, who have lost starting third baseman Brett Lawrie with broken fingers. Whether or not the Blue Jays would be willing to extend Headley, who has battled injuries over multiple seasons remains to be seen. The Friars’ hot corner occupant may be nothing more than a summer rental before he hits the open free agent market this winter.
“Even when things are going full-on crappy, like now, I’m confident that sometime in the near future, I’m going to get healthy, stay healthy and start playing the way I know I’m capable of…Whether that’s here or somewhere else, who knows? I don’t think a change of scenery is going to bring that about …”
Headley has been on the disabled list this season himself, with a calf injury, and now he’s dealing with herniated discs in his back, which could lower not only his trade value to the Padres, but might cost him dollars in the free agent market. Are teams willing to roll the dice and given an injury-prone third baseman big dollars based on one career year that happened a couple seasons ago already? There have even been suggestions that perhaps Headley has used steroids or PEDs, because he hasn’t been able to replicate his performance from 2012.
“I sometimes start to overthink things. When things start going wrong, I immediately start to try to fix them instead of saying, ‘Hey, that’s why there are 600 at-bats in a season.”
As the deadline looms closer, the fates of Headley, and several of his Padres’ teammates, rest in the hands of the three-headed monster that is now the acting team of general managers. For the odds of San Diego reversing course, and bringing back Headley on a new contract are slim and none. The only question that should remain now, is whomever takes the risk on the oft-injured third baseman, is whether or not he can regain his former stroke, or if he’ll remain an underachieving, flash in the pan, one season wonder.