Good God, Please Don’t Bring Back Chase Headley
Ugh. I just read an article by Hayden Kane of FanSided that said the Padres are one of the teams interested in Chase Headley.
Kill me now.
Were we upset when we traded Chase Headley to the Yankees for Yangervis Solarte? We were not. Was Solarte a big dropoff from Headley? He was not. Will Headley cost ten to twenty times more than Solarte next year? He will.
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I’m not saying Solarte is the answer. I’m saying Headley is not.
No, no, no.
Yes, we really wanted Pablo Sandoval. Clutch hitter. High marketability. Fun to watch. Think about those three descriptions. Do any of them make you think of Chase Headley?
Of course not.
He is as far from a clutch hitter as you can imagine. In his career, with two outs and a man on third, he has hit .174. Two outs and the bases loaded? .139. Overall, with two outs and men in scoring position, he’s a career .219 hitter.
This is the man the Padres had hitting in the 3 or 4 spot for the last several years. Is it any wonder they haven’t been within sniffing distance of .500? Middle of the lineup hitters need to get base hits in these situations. Headley, who strikes out at a 26% rate for his career, strikes out over 32% of the time with two outs and a man on third. That’s not clutch hitting. That’s choking.
Marketability? Headley’s primary value comes from defense and drawing walks. He’s a plus defender, and gets on base at a pretty good rate. Not a very good rate, just a pretty good one. Among active players with at least 3,000 plate appearances, he’s 57th in OBP. So on a team with an average offense, he’d be about the third best on-base guy.
When was the last time a team built a marketing campaign around a corner infielder’s defense and ability to draw walks?
Yeah, nothing’s coming to mind for me, either.
Fun to watch? Most of the time when I watched Headley, I felt bad for him. He obviously puts in a lot of work trying to improve, and he plays the game the right way. But there’s no flash, no personality. Not that I’m looking for a guy to carry his bat halfway to first base and then fling it away when he goes deep. But I can’t really remember Headley ever smiling during a game. C’mon, dude, you get to play baseball every day. FOR YOUR JOB. We would all be doing that if we could. Could you act like it’s fun once in a while?
He always seemed to have the weight of the world on his shoulders. Probably because he’s a natural number six or seven hitter who was forced to hit third or fourth so often. Talk about setting a guy up to fail. Hey, Chase, let’s take your career .265 average and .409 SLG and make you hit cleanup. Actually, even the .409 SLG is deceptively high. He’s only topped .400 in three of his eight seasons. More often than not, his SLG starts with a three. Take away the two monster months at the end of 2012, and it’s .393.
Of the third basemen with at least 2,000 plate appearances since 2009, Headley’s .409 SLG ranks 16th of 20.
OK, enough of my Headley bashing. I’ve gone on record many times as saying I think he’s a perfectly nice ballplayer that would be a nice complement on a team that didn’t need him for offense. Draw some walks, steal a base or two, play some solid third base. He’s just a poor fit on the Padres, who don’t have the luxury of carrying a corner infielder with limited offensive skills.
And due to a very weak free agent field, he’s among the four best available position players right now. Don’t be too impressed by that – Colby Rasmus and Jed Lowrie are right behind him. But with such a weak field, somebody is going to pay Headley $13-14 million a year for 3-4 years.
Please. Don’t let it be us. Been there. Done that. Don’t want to do it again.