San Diego Saturdays: Headley Over Panda


On Friday, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that the San Diego Padres are set to make an offer to free agent third base star Pablo Sandoval. The Padres and their new General Manager A.J. Preller will be looking to make a splash this winter as they try to build their way back into contention. Sandoval is the equivalent to the pretty girl at the dance right now and big name suitors like his old San Francisco Giants team, the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and probably some others we’ve yet to hear about. So if the Padres are serious they’ll have some major competition to compete with.

Pretty straight forward stuff. The Padres are going for Kung Fu Panda and it’s exciting. But, I have to say it may not be the right move. Sandoval is a great player. Big offensive ability, slick (While not particularly graceful) defense, and he just seems to always come through in the clutch. I get it. He’s pretty damn good. But he has issues with his weight and his contract is going to be huge and it’ll limit what the Padres can do to improve the roster going forward. Pablo Sandoval one of the best players available this off season but he’s not the best fit for the Padres. Instead, the best fit is someone Friars fans know quite well.

Jul 28, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Yankees third baseman

Chase Headley

(12) hits during the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Padres would be smart to try and bring back Chase Headley who they traded to the New York Yankees before last season’s July 31st Trade Deadline. Headley is not the type of hitter Sandoval is but he’s probably a better fielder. He’ll cost less and won’t handcuff the front office like a pact with Sandoval would. Not to mention that he’s in far better physical shape than Panda.

I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know if Headley would even consider a return to San Diego. After all, he did turn down more than a few contract extension offers from the team. In all fairness, the Padres aren’t really the prime choice for Sandoval either. So I won’t say the Padres should target Headley.

The market for Headley is competitive as well. The Yankees really want him back and will be bidding for his services alongside the likes of the Red Sox, Marlins and others. The Padres and Headley probably won’t see a reunion in the future. But, Headley is a better option  than Sandoval.

I don’t think there’s a better all around hitter on the market, but Sandoval is going to get somewhere around a nine figure contract for a lot of years. Big commitments to risky players. He can be, and is, a huge difference maker but these lucrative contracts almost always become albatross near the end. Panda will likely be looking a contract from somewhere  around six years to around eight years while Headley could be had for somewhere in the three or four year range. That’s much more team friendly than Sandoval’s incoming payday. Look, I know Pablo Sandoval is the better player but Chase Headley is a smarter choice for a team like the Padres with more than one hole to fill. Skip the Panda and sign Headley instead.