Scouting The Trade Market: San Diego Padres

Gyorko. (Kevin Liles/Getty)

Gyorko. (Kevin Liles/Getty)

Unless the team changes course in the next few weeks, the Yankees are unlikely to add another infielder on a guaranteed Major League contract this offseason. They’ll attempt to replace the suspended Alex Rodriguez with a bunch of scrap heap pickups and hope one of them sticks at some point. I don’t like that approach but that’s what the team seems to be doing. So be it.

While signing a player to a big league contract may be off the table, the Yankees could still trade for a 40-man roster player. They have a 40-man logjam of their own and would be able to clear a spot (or two) in a deal. Jon Morosi reported yesterday that New York called the Padres about their infield depth in the not too distant past, perhaps right after they learned A-Rod‘s fate. San Diego has so many extra infielders that they had no room on the 40-man for Dean Anna earlier this winter, so they shipped him to the Yankees for a Single-A reliever.

Do any of the Padres’ extra infielders make sense for the Bombers? Surely at least one does, right? Let’s look at what they have to offer.

Forsythe. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty)

Forsythe. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty)

UTIL Logan Forsythe
Forsythe, who turns 27 today, is the reason for this post, really. Morosi mentioned he was the “most realistic target,” but I don’t know if that is him speculating or reporting the Yankees are targeting him. Either way, Forsythe definitely makes sense for a team in need of both second and third base help. He has extensive experience at both positions — his defense is okay at best, more likely below-average if he plays regularly — and he even started to mix in some corner outfield work last year as well.

Thanks to a year-long battle with plantar fasciitis that prevented him from playing at 100%, Forsythe hit only .214/.281/.332 (73 wRC+) with six homers and six steals in 243 plate appearances last season. Foot and knee problems have hampered him over the years. Forsythe did show a lot of promise during an extended stint as San Diego’s everyday second baseman in 2012, hitting .273/.343/.390 (110 wRC+) with six homers and eight steals in 350 plate appearances. His career numbers in Triple-A are off the charts: .314/.446/.540 (154 wRC+) with 11 homers and 11 steals in 325 plate appearances.

“Forsythe is a natural third baseman who’s below-average at second but is good enough to fill in there for a team without a clear in-house option, and his high contact rates give him offensive value even with his lack of power,” said Keith Law (subs. req’d) following that strong 2012 season. Forsythe is a) still in his pre-arbitration years, b) a right-handed hitter who has mashed lefties in the show (124 wRC+), c) capable of playing two positions of need, and d) a buy-low candidate because his stock is down following the disappointing year and injury. If the Yankees aren’t going to spend big on a third baseman, he makes an awful lot of sense as a low-profile trade target.

2B/3B Jedd Gyorko
Gyorko is probably the least available Padres infielder. The 25-year-old hit .249/.301/.444 (110 wRC+) with 23 homers in 525 plate appearances as a rookie last season while playing solid defense at second and third bases. Scouting reports and his minor league track record suggest the power is real and his walk rate will eventually come up. San Diego is going to build around Gyorko and they’re more likely to sign him long-term than trade him for help elsewhere. His age, right-handed pop, and defensive versatility would be perfect for the Yankees. Acquiring him just isn’t all that realistic, however.

(Denis Poroy/Getty)

Headley. (Denis Poroy/Getty)

3B Chase Headley
The Yankees have been trying to trade for Headley for years, but the team’s lack of viable trade chips has hurt their pursuit. He is entering his walk year and is projected to make $10M, which isn’t all that pricey for the Padres anymore thanks to their local television deal as well as the new national television contracts. Signing him to a long-term extension is probably off the table though.

Headley, 29, was an MVP candidate in 2012, hitting .286/.376/.498 (145 wRC+) with 31 homers and 17 steals to go along with excellent third base defense. He dropped down to .250/.347/.400 (113 wRC+) with 13 homers and eight steals last year after breaking a thumb sliding into a base in Spring Training and coming back sooner than expected. A broken finger sabotaged his 2011 season, but otherwise Headley has consistently been an above-average hitter with double-digit homers, double-digit steals, and strong defense since becoming a full-timer in 2008.

I’ve always been a big Headley fan and think he’d be a pretty damn close to a star if you get him out of Petco Park. A switch-hitter with power and patience (11.8% walk rate since 2011) who steals bases and plays the hell out of third base? I’ll take that player on my team everyday of the week. Trading for Headley would be an enormous boost for the 2014 Yankees but it doesn’t seem like the two clubs match up for a deal right now. They’ll have to wait and pony up nine figures in free agency next winter.

SS Ryan Jackson
The Yankees don’t have much need for the 25-year-old Jackson, who is an excellent defender but can’t hit a lick. They have the same player in the older and more expensive Brendan Ryan. The Padres would probably be much more open to moving Jackson than incumbent shortstop and stolen base machine Everth Cabrera despite his 50-game Biogenesis suspension. If the Yankees and Padres are going to get together for a trade involving an infielder, Forsythe is the most realistic target by far.

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. lou says:

    “a bunch of scrap heap pickups” 2b, 3b, SS Jeter?

  2. Andrew says:

    Have to figure Headley’s name will come up connected to the Yankees all the way until he’s dealt and/or July 31st, whichever comes first, assuming he never signs an extension with San Diego. Midseason might be the ideal time to trade for him, it gives a Yankees prospect or two time to rebuild their value and should in theory keep the prospect cost down (3 month rental vs. full season).

    • RetroRob says:

      Mid-season trades are no longer as likely. Teams with a commodity like Headley might want the top draft pick and the money that comes with it as opposed to a straight trade, unless they are blown away.

  3. Kevin G. says:

    Wonder if Headley gets traded at the deadline

  4. Dicka24 says:

    Headley is so love/hate for people. While I don’t hate him, I don’t get the love affair some over him. He’s really had one good year, sandwiched around a lot of mediocre years. Fine, he plays in Petco, but still. Why pay a premium for someone who you’re hoping is better than he’s shown to be? I’d like to have him, but when I hear the Yankees don’t have enough to get him, I kinda laugh. What could he possibly cost is what I’m wondering. I wouldn’t pay through the nose for a 29 year old player who’s OPS’d over .800 only ONCE in his entire career. Seriously, look at his numbers. It’s not a small sample size either. Take out his 2012 where he massively outhit his norms, and you have such prospect demanding numbers like career high 13 homers, lifetime best 64 RBI, career Slg% under .400 (yikes!). I’m no pro scout, or FO guy, but I just don’t get why he should cost so much. I wouldn’t touch him for anything of significant value. I’d take a wait and see approach. If he sucks to start the season, he’ll either be cheap to acquire, or doing you a favor by saving you the time.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      While I don’t hate him, I don’t get the love affair some over him. He’s really had one good year, sandwiched around a lot of mediocre years … Why pay a premium for someone who you’re hoping is better than he’s shown to be?

      Sounds an awful lot like someone the Yankees gave $153M this winter.

    • lightSABR says:

      Here are Headley’s wOBA figures since he became a permanent big-leaguer in 2008 (and remember, wOBA is not park-adjusted):


      Here’s the league-average wOBA for a 3B:


      Here are the 2013 wOBA’s for some of the Yankees’ possible 3Bs next year:

      Eduardo Nunez: .298
      Scott Sizemore: (only 6 big-league PA in 2013)
      Dean Anna: (no big-league PA. Ever.)

      Obviously you don’t want to pay Headley for that one .378 year if he’s going to be putting up, say, .335 from here. But .335 is a solidly above-average starting 3B, and I don’t see a lot of those sitting around on our depth chart. They should totally be in on him next offseason.

    • mitch says:

      Saying he’s had one good year is unfair. He’s had one MVP-level year, but has been a consistently above-average 3B since he came up.

  5. The Great Gonzo says:

    Love me some Padres infielders. Still a mega Evereth Cabrera fan, although his suspension (along with Cruz and Josh Hamilton and Corey FCKING Hart, but I digress) killed my fantasy season last year…

  6. TheEvilUmpire says:

    Sounds like Forsythe passes the better than Eduardo Scissorhands test. Question is, how much will it take to land him? A B-grade prospect?

  7. TWTR says:

    A year ago, I (wrongly) thought that the Yankees would have a bunch of valuable young trade chips (Austin, Williams, Romine, etc.) who would be increasing their value with big minor league half-seasons. Obviously, that didn’t happen, but it would be really sweet if it did this year, because right not they have almost nothing to trade that wouldn’t be a regrettable example of selling low.

  8. Kosmo says:

    Headley career:
    Home: .243 BA .334 OBP .373 SLG .707 OPS
    Away: .293 BA .366 OBP .453 SLG .818 OPS

    I would like to see NY land him.

    Yes on Forsythe for an OK prospect.

  9. Chris says:

    I’m a big fan of defensive players who hit for high contact, but do we really need this guy Forsythe? We already have a ton of infield depth options. Unless Forsythe is going to give us a GOOD and reliable infield depth option, I wouldn’t trade for him when we have like 6 others…

    I know we don’t really have any good trade pieces, which is the whole problem, but I just think that unless we can somehow get a decent reliable option at 2nd/3rd/SS, then we’re not really upgrading anything, because we already have a bunch of fringe guys.

    • mitch says:

      Agreed. They’ve put together a decent crew of non-negative guys (Johnson, Roberts, Jeter, Ryan, Anna, Sizemore, etc). Forsythe would be another. That’s great if those guys are going to make up your bench platoon at maybe one position. It’s scary when you’re relying on them to make up 3/4 of the infield and a third of the total lineup.

  10. Aims says:

    Mike, If the price was exactly the same, who would you rather have, Gyorko or Headley? Headley is obviously only one year from free agency but maybe he would explore an extension and he would be a huge upgrade for 2014, while Gyorko could be a staple in the infield for years to come, but maybe have less of a 2014 impact. I realize that we won’t acquire either of these players this offseason, but theoretically, who would you value more.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Gyorko for sure. He’ll be what, maybe 75% of Headley at 20% of the total price (over the five years of his team control)? Love Headley, but Gyorko’s a dirt cheap long-term solution at a position of need, either 2B or 3B.

  11. Bryan says:

    I’d throw a all of our top prospects and maybe the kitchen sink in to land Gyorko. He would immediately come in and start at 3b. We then resign Gardner and hope to god nothing goes wrong in the outfield.

  12. MartinRanger says:

    Okay, sign me up for Forsythe. I was skeptical due to his down year but he’s clearly got a lot of potential, especially out of that ballpark. and this team needs all the lefty killing bats it can get.

    I’d be really pleased if they got this done. If he looks good in spring training, I wouldn’t feel all that bad about Forsythe and Johnson at 2nd and 3rd. A-Rod and Cano they ain’t, but you hope that this winter’s moves make up for that.

  13. Jorge Steinbrenner says:

    Logan Forsythe is such an incredibly classy name that he’s just doomed to fail. So little grit in that name. If you traded him to Boston, he’d just die on the spot.

  14. jim says:

    We are good between Kelly Johnson and Nunez we are ok till the trade deadline when san Diego is out of it at the trade deadline then we will trade for chase if he doesn’t sign long term. This is his walk year. Get him this year a get rid of a-fraud. This guy is left handed and short porch in right we are good to go

  15. mustang says:

    To me it sounds like they trying to figure out how to get Headley. Forsythe could be possible, but they seem to have his type already same with Jackson. Gyorko is a pipe dream that’s someone they built around not trade. Which bring us back to Headley who they been trying to extend for months without success. The old “the team’s lack of viable trade chips” might be a ploy to get the Yankees to give up more in prospects. To me Headley seems like the likely target and I’m all for that.

  16. Oy says:

    Never understood the “Yankees don’t have enough prospects to land Headley”. He is a great player, averaging 4.36 fWAR and 4.13 rWAR during the last three years. But, he is under team control for just one year and he is not exactly cheap with a $10 million projected cost. If the Padres don’t want low level/high potential prospects, maybe a three team deal could be orchestrated?

    Something along the lines of sending Gardner and one of Williams/Austin, plus a top 10-15 prospect to Cincinnati for Headley and Manny Parra? Cinci will ship a few prospects to San Diego…

    • mustang says:


    • vicki says:

      i ain’t shipping ggbg-plus for essentially half a year of headley, in that he (or brewers’ ramirez) will be cheaper nearer the deadline. gardner needs to be a part of this team’s future. with slade, mason and austin taking backward steps and aaron judge years away, we’ve got exactly ellsbury slated for the outfield in 2015 (beltran will be a dh by then).

      • Kosmo says:

        Yanks will need power hitters in the worst way come 2015. Jagielo is not a sure fire can´t miss prospect and is realistically 2 years away. Yanks need power from the corners. In 2015 Tex , McCann and Beltran will be the only power hitters slated to be in the lineup with Tex and Beltran possibly in decline. IMO trading Gardner to land Headley would be a great move for NY. Yanks could then try to extend Headley or QO.

        • Ed says:

          Why would the Padres want to do a Gardner/Headley trade?

          The Padres aren’t likely to be a playoff team this year, so why would they trade for a player with one year of control left?

          • vicki says:

            and, again, the yankees can have a go at him mid-summer or when he hits free agency after this season. or aramis. there’s a chance they could be extended before then but if i’m either one i take a look around the market and decide to test the waters.

            gritner will get a big raise after this season but will still be underrated and underpaid for his value relative to others, because of his peculiar skillset (though he obviously makes more sense in center).

  17. DA9 says:

    I haven’t heard about this guy in awhile, except that he was supposed to be really good once~ what about Dee Gordon? Is he a viable option or is he just a trainwreck?

    • Oy says:

      Can’t hit, can’t field and has 3.2 career innings at 2B, with none at 3b. Plus, Dodgers will probably keep him because of the Guerrero question mark.

    • The Great Gonzo says:

      Dee Gordon is not particularly better than the options we already have.

      Can’t hit worth a damn, and you cannot get much better with non-hitting infielders than Brenden Ryan. So, nope.

  18. Dropped Third says:

    Imagine if cashman got Headley and Tanaka before the season started? I know Headley is going to be costly and I really don’t have a clue on their strengths and weaknesses as a ball club but could a Gardner + Sanchez + pitching prospect get this done?

    I’d take a chance on Forsythe as long as his cost is low. At least he might be able to hit a bit and keep Nunez of the field.

    • Oy says:

      I think giving up Gardner and the only top 100 prospect on the team, is an overpay. Gardner averaged 4 fWAR and 2.8 rWAR during the last three years, has the same year of team control left but will probably cost 5 million less than Headley. I’d do Gardner and any other prospect(s) besides Sanchez for Headley in a three team deal (Padres have no use for Gardner), but giving up Gardner and Sanchez might be too much.

    • LK says:

      Unfortunately, the combination of Headley and Tanaka isn’t a luxury, but a need.

    • Mike says:

      A combination of Ichiro and mid level prospects / cash considerations sounds better imo.

  19. Farewell Mo says:

    I think it’s pretty much a must that the Yankees sign Headley or Sandoval after the season with no one on the farm really all that close to the majors for 3rd base.

    Gonna be interesting since Panda is 2 years younger but his body type does not exactly project to age well. I’d be happy with either.

  20. RetroRob says:

    Forsythe is a good, buy-low player. He has some upside potential. I like bringing in players like him, and Sizemore, who can exceed expectations if healthy.

  21. Scully says:

    Headley’s spray chart tells me he’d be great in YSIII


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