Well readers, it is July already, and you know what that means for the Padres: trading season. One player in particular that the Padres might surprisingly be looking to move is actually Chase Headley. According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the possibility of the Friars dealing Headley is very real indeed and there are numerous teams interested in trading for him. Smartly though, when asked what it would take for San Diego to ultimately trade Headley, a Padres official according to Heyman stated: “A lot.” So because the trade deadline is less than a month away, I want to discuss my thoughts on what I consider “A lot” to actually be, and whether I believe Headley is expendable or not and why.
Moving Headley Not in Team’s Best Interest
Before I go into any specifics, let me first state that I do not particularly care for the idea of the Padres attempting to trade Chase Headley (or Carlos Quentin or Huston Street for that matter). In my humble opinion, it would be unwise for a team which has trouble getting things done at the plate on a consistent basis to move their most consistent Offensive threat and 2012 leader (as a starter) in essentially every Offensive category (Batting Average, Hits, Walks, Home Runs, RBI’s). It also does not help that Headley is only 28, entering his prime years in terms of productivity at the plate, and a terrific Third Baseman in the field.
I earnestly hope that if the new ownership group can afford to keep Headley from a financial perspective, I am in favor of the franchise locking him up for a 5+ year period. At least to me, if the franchise thought it was of the utmost importance to lock up players like Cameron Maybin and Nick Hundley, both of whom had not produced at nearly the same level or with the same consistency in the big leagues as Headley has yet were still given extensions, bringing Chase back if he wants to stay and the team can afford him is an absolute no-brainer.
Headley’s Market Value High Though
I am not surprised that Headley has a large amount of suitors, specifically teams which will be contending for Playoff spots. His road numbers speak for themselves, and many teams could see Headley as quite a steal if they get him out of Petco and he can in turn produce for his new team (especially his power numbers). With the thought of getting a Third Baseman of Headley’s caliber more of a reality than a dream, many teams might consider paying a high price to San Diego to acquire him. I may not believe that Headley (who is only making just under $3.5 million dollars according to Heyman) is an expendable piece, but if the Padres decide to pull the trigger on the deal, they had better get “a lot” in exchange and should look to really add to their already stocked farm system.
The Padres Can Benefit With More Young Talent
Luckily for the Padres, they have a solid young farm system and a core of talented young players and might really benefit by trading Headley for even more talent to develop. Some like Joe Wieland, Yasmani Grandal and Yonder Alonso have gotten their big league careers’ underway as we speak. While others like Jedd Gyorko (who will likely be Headley’s successor if he is moved), Casey Kelly, Robbie Erlin, Rymer Liriano, and Edinson Rincon will be inching ever closer to the big league roster over the next few months or during next season. Yet with all of their terrific talent, the Padres could still use some more depth at the Major League, Triple-A, and Double-A levels and it would not hurt to hedge their bets.
I have hope that if the Padres do decide to move Headley, they are able to convince whichever team that wants him that a couple of top prospects and a possibly a veteran Pitcher (bullpen or starter) are worthy of his services. If you remember, it would be something sort of similar to what the Friars received in their trade with Cincinnati during the offseason. A talented Middle Infield prospect (Triple-A level preferred) would definitely be high on San Diego’s list to challenge the team’s current group of Second Basemen and Shortstops. Another starting pitcher to hedge San Diego’s bets on their talented but injured young arms in the forms of Wieland and Kelly would help as well, and it does not help the situation that Cory Luebke and Anthony Bass have spent time on the Disabled List this season either. Finally, if the team also decides to move Quentin and some of their other Outfielders over the coming seasons, the Padres could benefit by adding a talented player at one of the three positions (specifically a Corner Outfielder) to develop as well.
As torn as I am on the subject, I really hope that the Padres are able to keep Headley and keep him long term if it is financially feasible. Right now, I believe that it would bad move now for the club to trade their #3 hitter and starting Third Baseman that still has plenty of productive baseball left in him. The only thing which would make the trade worse is if Headley is shipped to a division rival like Los Angeles or Arizona, both of whom are apparently interested in trading for Headley according to Heyman. I have readied myself however for Headley’s departure just in case though, because if there is one thing that I have gotten used to as a Padres fan over the years it has been seeing some of the team’s best players traded away.
Yet as I discussed above, in the event that San Diego trades Headley, they had better get “A Lot” in return. Dealing a player of Headley’s caliber is not something this franchise should take lightly, and anything offered by another team which is less than what the team received for Mat Latos this past offseason should be laughed at by the organization.