With the the July 31st trading deadline fast approaching, third baseman Chase Headley’s time as a Padre is probably coming to end. Despite his recent hot streak and the different arguments to why he should stay, the team simply cannot afford to keep a $10.5 million player whose underachieved the last two seasons and will, more likely, walk if he doesn’t see a pay increase at the end of the season.
In addition, the disastrous contract structure and no-trade clause of struggling outfielder Carlos Quentin really hinders the Padres’ from being able to think about signing any marquee free agent in the off season, so trading Headley helps the Padres and whomever decides to acquire him.
This leads to the bigger question. Which team is the better fit for Headley? Better yet, what AL East team is going to make the move to bring in the switching hitting third baseman?
Over the past couple of weeks, reports have circulated that both the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees have shown considerable interest in Headley. Both AL East teams sit in second and third place in the division with the Baltimore Orioles holding a 2.5 game lead over the Blue Jays. However, with Toronto’s recent struggles and rash of injuries, it would make the most sense for the Blue Jays to pull the string to acquire Headley.
As reported by Steve Adams on MLBtraderumors.com, the Blue Jays are going to be without first baseman/DH Adam Lind for six-to-eight weeks due to a non-displaced fracture in his right foot. To make matters worse , slugger Edwin Encarnacion joined third baseman Brett Lawrie on the DL last week after straining his quadricep muscle running out a grounder.
The Blue Jays would appear to be the logical fit for Headley. They are one of few teams who need a third baseman and can pick up his contract for the rest of the year. Headley still has value despite hitting .225 with six homers and only 27 RBI. He can hit from from both sides of the plate and it give manager John Gibbons another option behind Baustista and Encarnacion if he can regain his power stroke in the second half of the season.
Right now, it is a three team race in the AL East but the Blue Jays are on the verge of slipping back behind the Yankees for third place if the injuries continue to mount. The Padres’ are holding on barely in the NL West, but it is safe to say that the team should start thinking about next season.
If they can get the Blue Jays to take most of Headley’s contract and get a couple of talented players within the Blue Jays organization, San Diego can make out in this deal and use the money to fill some additional holes in the off season.
Whether fans want to accept or not, it is going to be hard for the Padres’ to make a run at the postseason. Although Headley has seen his average go up by thirty points during this hot streak, he is not driving in runs or hitting home runs which has been a constant struggle the entire year. At thirty-years old, the Blue Jays may be the place to resurrect his bat this year before going into the free agent market.