Baseball pundits have been speculating that the San Diego Padres would eventually flip veteran third-baseman Chase Headey before the 2018 season begins. Let’s discuss the Friars’ options if they do indeed decide to trade him.
The San Diego Padres find themselves in quite the pickle. They acquired Chase Headley back from the New York Yankees (along with Bryan Mitchell) in exchange for outfielder Jabari Blash, who was then traded to the Angels this week.
The conundrum the Padres find themselves in is a unique one, to an extent. This is a young Friars team, and Headley would provide veteran leadership to a group in desperate need of an experienced voice in the clubhouse. On the other hand, they could try and trade Headley.
While he is undoubtedly still a productive player who would serve as an upgrade to many MLB teams, if free-agent Mike Moustakas is still trying to find a home (possibly on a one-year, low(ish)-risk contract), the haul the Padres would receive for the 33-year-old likely wouldn’t have much on-the-surface value to it.
Of course, A.J. Preller and his regime are no strangers to developing MLB-hopefuls. It almost appears as if they relish the opportunity in some cases. So let’s say the Padres go ahead and trade away Chase Headley before Opening Day. What then?
What would be the next step for the San Diego Padres?
If the San Diego Padres do indeed decide to trade away veteran third-baseman Chase Headley, they would almost certainly fill the void with an in-house candidate. Their options are actually quite vast.
Cory Spangenberg is a talented young player who also plays some outfield and second base as well. In limited opportunities, he’s been productive. In 2017 the 26-year-old hit .264 with an OPS of .723. Add in his 13 home runs, 48 RBI and 18 doubles in around 450 at-bats, and you have the makings of a future cornerstone infielder.
Whether or not the Padres choose to go this route is all speculation at this point, but their options don’t end there. They could also turn to young prospect Christian Villanueva. In only 32 at-bats with the Friars last season, the 26-year-old absolutely mashed.
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His .344 average and four home runs came in extremely small sample size, of course. But his numbers in three seasons at Triple-A El Paso signify that he has the potential to be a force at the major league level.
In 1,076 at-bats at AAA, Villanueva slashed .263/.328/.457, with 44 home runs and 200 RBI.
If he can translate his AAA performance into production at the big league level, manager Andy Green will have an awfully tough decision to make in the very near future.
He has a stud in Cory Spangenberg and a potential future All-Star in Villanueva. Although they would be giving up a much-needed veteran leader in Headley, their productivity levels shouldn’t feel much effect whatsoever. In fact, they could find themselves with even more production out of the third-base position.