San Diego Padres: Thank You, Chase Headley.
By Nick Stevens
After spending parts of nine seasons with the San Diego Padres, let’s not forget the contributions Chase Headley made to this franchise.
The Chase Headley era is officially over in San Diego. The team announced on Saturday, May 12th, that they had designated the third baseman for assignment after the veteran struggled mightily to begin the 2018 season. Whether you were a fan of his or not, Chase Headley goes down as one of the better hitters in San Diego Padres history.
Headley earned just 52 at-bats this season, recording six hits, two runs scored, and four runs driven in. Even his ability to get on base failed him as Headley posted a minuscule .233 OBP.
While the overwhelming sentiment among Padres’ fans was joy and relief after hearing the breaking news, it’s important to take a step back and appreciate what Chase Headley has done for this franchise. True, the offseason trade that brought Headley back to San Diego will be remembered as a bust move by AJ Preller and his staff, however, at the end of the day, Headley’s name appears near the very top of a vast majority of offensive career leaderboards.
Headley’s history with the San Diego Padres.
Originally a second-round pick of the Padres in 2005, Headley made his big league debut on June 5th, 2007, almost exactly two years to the day he was drafted. He played parts of nine seasons with the organization, appearing in 935 games and 3,780 plate appearances. Only Tony Gwynn, Garry Templeton, Dave Winfield, Tim Flannery, and Gene Richards appeared in more games in a Padres’ uniform.
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Headley amassed 879 hits, fifth highest on the career leaderboard. Of those hits,187 were doubles (4th highest), 13 were triples, and 87 were home runs (8th highest). His career slash line marks of .263/.344/.405/.749 are each within the top 18 career marks for Padres’ hitters.
His 2012 season was his most memorable with the team. Headley won a Gold Glove that year, along with a Silver Slugger, after hitting .286 with a career-high 31 home runs and league-high and career-high 131 runs batted in. He missed just one game, recording 31 doubles and tying his career-high record for stolen bases with 17. Headley went on to finish fifth in the MVP Award voting that year.
Unfortunately, the 2018 version of Chase Headley left a bad taste in the mouths of a lot of fans. The reunion tour didn’t work, and that’s ok. All the Padres can do is pick up the broken pieces, move on, and hope the likes the Christian Villanueva and Cory Spangenberg can handle third base duties for the rest of the season until the next wave of prospects can break through.
This all leaves one serious questions to ponder, do the Padres eventually induct Chase Headley into their Hall of Fame?
I will leave you with this 2012 highlight video to remember the good Chase Headley. Thank you, Chase Headley, and good luck in whatever direction your Major League Baseball career takes you next.
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Headley leaves the Padres as the all-time franchise leader in hit-by-pitches (38) and strikeouts (864).