Looks like the Padres went with Option 2 that I had discussed in my Monday Article with regards to their Closer situation. While I’m not overly excited, I am interested in seeing exactly what Street can do in the pitcher-friendly confines of Petco. Anyways, with the Winter Meetings in full swing, rumors are swirling about the possibility of the Padres unloading another one of their better players: 3B Chase Headley.
In an extremely thin 3B Free Agent market, Headley is said to be drawing significant interest from multiple teams according to Dan Hayes of the North County Times. Furthermore, the Padres do have other needs outside of 3B and may be tempted to make a move to improve their club.
So for today’s article I not only want to discuss specific “Pros” and “Cons” if the Padres decide to trade Headley, but I also want to give my opinion on the entire matter as well. Hit that “Continue Reading” button and let’s get started:
Pros (Headley Being Traded)
If Headley is traded, it’s not like the Padres don’t have a glut of Third Basemen already on their roster. According to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Logan Forsythe, Andy Parrino, Edinson Rincon, James Darnell, and Jesus Guzman (who spent some time there last season while Headley was hurt) all have the ability to play at Third.
Probably the biggest reason for San Diego to ship Headley out is that it could bring in some young hot-shots at positions of need (2B, SS, etc.) from a team willing to pay for Headley’s services. Dan Hayes of describes how with Aramis Ramirez being the only real “star” on the 3B market, Headley is an attractive option for teams that are in need of a solid player at the “hot corner.”
Bill Center describes a situation where the Padres might find Headley expendable if their youngsters with power, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Blanks, can fill the holes at 1B and LF respectively. With those positions secured, the Padres could put Jesus Guzman at 3B and reap the benefits of the new prospects (at positions of need) traded for Headley.
Moving Headley would essentially be a very high-risk but very high-reward situation.
Cons (Headley Being Traded)
First of all, Headley isn’t all that expensive to keep. According to his profile on baseballreference.com, Chase is set to make $2.54 million dollars in 2011. This type of salary for Headley’s production when healthy is darn good. Even if the Padres look to move him after the season, having a solid 3B around for that type of dough is a solid investment for the 2012 season.
Moreover, there isn’t a guarantee any of the Padres’ Third Base prospects work out. Sure they have a glut of prospects at the position, and many are highly touted (Edinson Rincon). Yet as I alluded to before, none of them (outside of Guzman) have had extensive time in the Big Leagues at Third Base as of now. Sure you can project how a guy will do, but until he gets to the Big League level and actually gets some AB’s you still don’t know.
Another big reason why San Diego should at least consider keeping Headley until the trading deadline is to help their terrible offense. Only the Giants and Mariners scored less runs than the Padres last season (593), only Seattle finished with a lower team BA (.233) than the Padres (.237), and San Diego finished dead last in HR’s (91) in all of M.L.B.. Who knows? Headley could get off to a nice start offensively and the Padres could trade him while his value is high if they aren’t contending. Or he could get off to a hot start offensively and the Padres could as well and they could keep him around for a stretch run at his low $2.54 million salary.
Either way, keeping Headley would be a low-risk, high-reward strategy.
I don’t want to see the Padres give Headley up unless it’s for a “King’s Ransom.” To me, this isn’t a situation like Bell’s where the Padres would be asked to keep a guy that comes in for 1 inning per game well into his 30’s. Headley is one of the Padres’ better hitters (.289 average, and .330 average on the road), and San Diego’s anemic offense would be dealt a huge blow without him. He’s a switch-hitter that can play every day which is a nice weapon to have in a lineup. Moreover, he has a good enough glove to warrant him staying at 3B for a long time regardless of how many prospects there are.
If the Padres want to use Jesus Guzman or one of the prospects at Third and try to get some stellar, young, Middle Infielders for Headley I won’t say I’ll be completely disappointed. However, outside of Guzman, none of the other players have proven they can stick or have even proved themselves worthy of staying at the Big League level. Plus, Guzman may be needed more at 1B if Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Blanks don’t work out there either.
Thus, I must reiterate again: Headley is too valuable for the Padres to trade right now. Only a ridiculously advantageous trade package should sway them Padres’ Front Office because without Headley in 2012, the Padres may score less runs than they did last season and there will be a huge hole at Third Base on a team with numerous holes to begin with.
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