San Diego Padres: Chase Headley Could Play a Vital Role

DENVER, CO - JULY 7: Chase Headley
DENVER, CO - JULY 7: Chase Headley /

After three-plus seasons in pinstripes, Chase Headley is back with the San Diego Padres.  At thirty-three and at a different stage in his career since we last saw him, Headley could be instrumental to the Friars’ success this season.

Chase Headley was a 2nd-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 2005. He made his major-league debut in June 2007, quickly making his way through the Friars’ minor league system. Always a fan-favorite, after a three-and-a-half year stay in the Bronx, he’s back with the team he spent the first two-thirds of his career with.

During his original eight-year stint in San Diego, Headley had without a doubt the most productive years of his 12-year career. His standout season came in 2012. Playing in all but one of the Padres’ regular-season games, Headley had himself a career year.

In 699 at-bats, the then-28-year-old slashed .286/.376/.498 with 31 HR and a league-leading 115 RBI. Although he was not named to the NL All-Star team, Headley did finish fifth in the NL MVP voting that season.

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Headley’s breakout season (his fourth full season with the Padres) of 2012 was followed by a sobering crash back down to Earth the following year. In twenty-less games played, Chase Headley’s numbers dropped dramatically.

He saw his production drop in nearly every facet of his offense. His .250 batting average was his lowest since hitting .222 over eight games during his first September call-up in 2007. His 13 HR and 50 RBI were a far cry from the MVP-type numbers he’d put up the season before.

Concerns were certainly raised for the San Diego Padres. The front office likely saw it as a blip on the radar and hoped he’d get back to being Chase Headley in 2014. Headley increased his power output from the previous season, smacking 13 HR and knocking in 49 RBI (nearly matching his 2013 totals, respectively) through 135 games.

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It was at that point the Friars’ front office decided to send Headley to the New York Yankees in exchange for Rafael De Paula and Yangervis Solarte.

Needless to say, the fanbase was shocked. Over his next few seasons in New York, while playing consistently, he was not an everyday player.

Headley’s only season with the Yankees in which he got more than 600 plate-appearances was in 2015. Over the next two years, Chase Headley performed capably.

As he got older, he became more of a clubhouse leader than he already was. He has continued to produce, as well.

As long as he’s still with the team come Opening Day (looking likely, but not a sure thing by any means), Headley could play an extremely vital part in the Padres’ success this season.

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While we may never see the Chase Headley of 2012 again, a .260 hitter with power-potential and leadership qualities could mean the world to a San Diego Padres team chock-full of young players.

If Headley can be the same player he’s been over the second-half of his career for this year’s edition of our Fightin’ Friars, the reverberations of his presence could make waves for years to come.