Archive for Chase Headley
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.
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.
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.
Via Joel Sherman: The Yankees continue to have Padres third baseman Chase Headley on their radar. San Diego recently wrapped up their organizational meetings and believe they will keep their franchise player even though he is due to become a free agent next offseason. The Padres will listen to offers but they don’t consider New York a good trade partner because of their lack of big league ready young players.
Headley, 29, hit .250/.347/.400 (113 wRC+) with 13 homers in exactly 600 plate appearances this summer. He missed the start of the season after breaking his thumb sliding into third base in Spring Training and was much better in the second half (134 wRC+) than the first (99 wRC+). That makes sense, players tend to perform better as they get further away from hand injuries. Headley was a legitimate MVP candidate just a year ago, when he hit .286/.376/.498 (145 wRC+) with 31 homers and his typically strong defense.
Matt Swartz projects Headley to earn $10M through arbitration in 2014. Even if Alex Rodriguez‘s suspension is overturned, the Yankees have an obvious need at third base because they can’t count on A-Rod to stay healthy or play the field everyday. Headley is a switch-hitter with power and strong defense, so he’s a pretty great fit for any team. If the Padres trade him during the season, his new team won’t be able to make him a qualifying offer and he won’t cost a draft pick to sign next winter. That would be the best case for New York outside of prying him loose via trade this winter.
Via Jon Heyman: The Yankees recently called the Padres about the availability of Chase Headley, but were told there is no deal to be made. San Diego seeks a “special prospect” in return for their switch-hitting third baseman and are likely to keep him.
Headley, 29, is hitting .229/.330/.359 (97 wRC+) this season while battling a fractured thumb and calf problems. He broke out last season by hitting .286/.376/.498 (145 wRC+), and he remains under team control as an arbitration-eligible player through 2014. The Yankees reportedly discussed Headley with the Padres both at the deadline last year and at the Winter Meetings. This would be a great time to “buy low” on him, but it seems obvious the Friars aren’t going to just give him away because of subpar half-season.
After a fairly dismal road trip, the Yankees now stand in third place with a 39-32 record and a run differential of zero. With just under 60% of the season remaining, there’s a lot of baseball to be played and a lot of time for rosters to change. As to be expected, Brian Cashman has already mentioned the team is “open for business,” so let’s take a look at some possible targets* who have been swirling about here at RAB.
The 23 year old outfielder formerly known as Mike hasn’t had the best luck this season. He was sidelined in late April for five weeks with a fairly severe hamstring strain. Since returning Stanton has batted .344/.382/.813 (1.195 OPS) with four home runs. He’s a career .270/.350/.550 (.382 wOBA, 140 wRC+) hitter with three cost controlled years remaining. This is exactly the type of guy the Yankees should pursue. Chances are the Marlins won’t completely screw their fanbase move their disgruntled superstar by the deadline, but they very well may consider moving him come the offseason.
The problem is that Stanton’s a superstar and superstars require major hauls. The Yankees would be required to give up at least four or five of their top prospects (which I would definitely be okay with) – we’re talking Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin, Mason Williams, and maybe Rafael DePaula for starters – and that very well might not be enough to get it done, nor would a package such as that necessarily compete with other insane prospect packages offered by other organizations. Chances of this trade happening, in my opinion, are gloomy with a chance of “get-the-eff-outa-here,” but it’s fun to dream nevertheless.
Headley has had a disappointing start to the 2013 season, at least by his standards. He’s batting .221/.328/.350 (.304 wOBA, 99 wRC+); hence the “Quick! It’s time to buy…” chants. The problem here is threefold. First, the Padres, despite sitting right at .500 are only three games out of first place, so they probably aren’t going to be sellers, at least as it stands now.
Second, San Diego GM Josh Byrnes isn’t a fool. He’s not going to just hand over a young, talented third baseman just because he’s struggled early on this season – it just doesn’t behoove the team to act in such reactionary fashion. In fact, the organization actively tried to discuss a long-term extension with Headley already. Third, and along the same lines as Stanton, if Byrnes were to trade Headley, it wouldn’t be cheap nor would NY necessarily have enough MLB-ready, elite prospects to get a deal done. If this was doable, I’d be all for it even if it meant gutting the farm. I just don’t see it happening though. Bummer.
This one’s kind of interesting because it’s much more plausible. The former Yankee second baseman has a full no-trade clause, though that really isn’t a big deal as he can still approve a move to NY (and all indications suggest he would be willing to consider them). Contractually, Soriano is still owed about $30.5M total for the remainder of this season and next. Presumably, if the Cubs were to make a move, the expectation would probably be for them to eat a significant chunk of the contract if they’re expecting any sort of return. If the Cubs just wanted to unload the remaining salary on to another team (which is also possible), they probably wouldn’t get anything back — kind of like how the Yankees handled A.J. Burnett.
Maybe the Cubs are willing to eat $15-20M, in which case I could see a C-level prospect getting thrown into the deal. In terms of upgrading the Yankee lineup, Soriano has hit .249/.280/393 (.290 wOBA, 79 wRC+) this season but is one year removed from posting a 116 wRC+, 3.6 fWAR season last year. He also has a very discernible splits against right-handers and he’s never shown a whole lot of patience at the plate (career 5.9 BB%). Would he be an improvement over what the Yankees are currently trotting out into left field? Probably. Do we really want another him though? I’d say no unless the Cubs eat almost all the remaining dollars, in which case, my official stance becomes “meh.” Eventually Curtis Granderson will return anyway.
Now here’s another guy who’s name gets mentioned frequently around here. Ethier has batted .251/.333/.377 (.308 wOBA, 98 wRC+) this season, which is about on par with what ZiPS projected. On the plus side he’s consistently been a 100-plus wRC+ hitter who has hit for some power over the years. On the downside, he has very obvious splits – lefties haven’t been particularly kind to him which inevitably translates into another platoon bat. He’s also shown increasing strikeout trends over the past few seasons. Moreover, his defensive value in right field has been judged as anywhere from slightly below-average to outright lousy.
The real elephant in the room though is the contract. The Dodgers saw fit to give Ethier a five year, $85M deal which carries him through 2017 (plus a 2018 club option). That translates out to about $8M owed this year, $15M in 2014, $18M in 2015 and 2016, then $17.5M in 2017. Yikes. Then there’s the age. He’s already 31 years old. I don’t want to see the Yankees on the hook for a ton of cash during his decline years, and I don’t want to see anyone noteworthy get shipped out to LA in return for him. Fortunately, should the Yankees elect to send prospects to LA, I imagine it would be nothing beyond a B-level prospect. Granted, I have never been a big Ethier supporter, but I really have no interest in seeing another corpse stumbling along the bases over the next several years.
*For the record, I have been saying from day one that there aren’t going to be any big names heading to NY by the trade deadline. Until I see otherwise, I’m sticking by this prediction. Also, if you have any trade targets you’d like me to consider, please submit them using the “Submit a Tip” feature, and I’ll try to incorporate it into my follow up piece which will hopefully be written in the next week or so.
Via Nick Cafardo: The Yankees have inquired about the availability of Chase Headley. Padres GM Josh Byrnes recently told Peter Gammons his third baseman isn’t available, but that is typical GM speak. Even if he is available they would say he isn’t just to create leverage. For what it’s worth, Bill Madden reported last week San Diego has started listening to offers for their franchise cornerstone.
Headley, 28, hit .286/.376/.498 (145 wRC+) with 31 homers and 17 steals last season, including .308/.386/.592 (170 wRC+) with 23 homers and ten steals after the All-Star break. The switch-hitter is an above-average defender at third and is under team control as an arbitration-eligible player through 2014. He’ll earn $8.575M this summer. The Yankees did not contact the Padres about Headley at the Winter Meetings following the news of Alex Rodriguez‘s hip surgery, but I guess they’re a little more desperate for offense these days. The cost would be substantial — two top prospects plus one or two lesser pieces? — but Headley is a star-caliber player in his prime years with multiple years of team control remaining.
The Winter Meetings officially come to a close today, and the rumor mill should start to dry up around noon (probably sooner) after the clubs flee the Gaylord Opryland. The two biggest free agents (Zack Greinke & Josh Hamilton) are still on the board and the Yankees haven’t done a thing other than announce Alex Rodriguez‘s new hip injury. Somehow they’re actually going to leave this week with more questions than when it started.
The Rule 5 Draft starts at 10am ET and I’ll have a liveblog up for that, but otherwise this is your thread for various Yankees-related rumblings throughout the day. Here are Monday’s, Tuesday’s, and Wednesday’s rumors. All times are ET.
- 3:49pm: The Yankees have not contacted the Padres about Chase Headley, which is a little surprising. Even though San Diego says he’s off-limits, you’d think they’d at least ask to hear it from the horse’s mouth. [Chad Jennings]
- 12:06pm: The Yankees spoke to the Mets about R.A. Dickey this week, but apparently they didn’t have the right pieces to swing a trade. I can’t imagine the PR hit the Mets would have taken had they dealt the reigning Cy Young Award winner to the Bronx. [Andy Martino]
- 10:53am: The Yankees did not inquire on Michael Young because they don’t believe he can handle third base full-time. Can’t say I disagree. [Joel Sherman]
- 10:49am: Cashman met with reporters during the Rule 5 Draft and said he’s been engaged in trades more than free agents so far. [Chad Jennings]
- 8:40am: Curtis Granderson is one of five players the Phillies are targeting for their center field opening. It’s unclear if (or how much) the two sides have talked and what Philadelphia could give up in return. [Danny Knobler]
- 8:00am: Agents who have spoken to the Yankees get the impression that a clamp has been placed on the team’s spending. Brian Cashman is supposedly frustrated by his inability to act and is working with ownership to see what he can spend. This is ridiculous. [Joel Sherman]
- Veteran infielder Alex Gonzalez is in the team’s mix of third base candidates. The 35-year-old has some pop, but he’s a sub-.300 OBP candidate. Gonzalez is coming off surgery to repair a torn ACL and was considered a strong defender at short, though he’s never played a big league game at another position (even DH). The Yankees need to see him work out following surgery before discussing a contract. [George King]
- The Yankees are open to discussing Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova in trades. This isn’t that surprising, they’ve always been a team that will listen on pretty much every player. [Andrew Marchand]
The trade deadline is 4pm ET tomorrow, and the Yankees will definitely be in the market for a fill-in third baseman with Alex Rodriguez on the DL with a broken bone in his hand. Pitching help — both rotation and bullpen — could also be a target, though they figure to be done looking for outfielders following the Ichiro Suzuki pickup. We’re going to keep track of any Yankees-related trade deadline rumors right here throughout the day, so check back often for updates. The latest will be on the bottom. Here are Sunday’s rumors if you missed them…
- Stephen Drew is one potential option as the Yankees look for infield help. Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers worked for the Yankees in 2010 and knows their farm system, which could expedite things. Drew will likely clear waivers in August, so he doesn’t necessarily have to be traded by tomorrow. Joe looked at him in-depth last week. [Joel Sherman]
- “I don’t think they are even in on it,” said someone in the know about the Yankees and Chase Headley. Yesterday we heard that the asking price was a bit too rich. [Sherman]
- Cliff Lee is on the market and the Phillies intend to trade him either before the deadline or in the offseason to clear payroll. They obviously want a monster haul in return, but the Yankees won’t get involved because they don’t want to take on his contract. [Buster Olney & Sherman]
- We heard yesterday that the Yankees had interest in Rafael Betancourt, but they have not contacted the Rockies about the right-handed reliever. [Sherman]
- The Yankees are prioritizing defense in their search for infield help. They have players ahead of Ty Wigginton on their shopping list, unsurprisingly. [Jon Heyman]
- The Yankees are not close to any trade as of this afternoon, but that is always subject to change rather quickly. [Olney]
The trade deadline is 4pm ET on Tuesday, and the Yankees will definitely be in the market for a fill-in third baseman with Alex Rodriguez on the DL with a broken bone in his hand. Pitching help — both rotation and bullpen — could also be a target, though they figure to be done looking for outfielders following the Ichiro Suzuki pickup. We’re going to keep track of any Yankees-related trade deadline rumors right here throughout the day, so check back often for updates. The latest stuff will be on the bottom…
- Chase Headley is still an option for the Bombers, who could use him at third base while A-Rod is hurt and then potentially stick him in right field to replace Nick Swisher next season. The two sides have not exchanged names yet, and the Yankees worry the asking price will be too high [Ken Rosenthal & Joel Sherman]
- The Yankees did try to acquire Marco Scutaro before he was traded to the Giants on Friday night. They wanted Colorado to foot a significant portion of the $2.25M left on his contract, but that wasn’t happening. [Jon Morosi & Sherman]
- Rockies right-hander Rafael Betancourt is on the Yankees’ radar. He’s under contract for $4.25M next year and continues to post fantastic peripherals (2.88 FIP), though he’s one of the most fly ball prone pitchers in the game (career 29.6% grounders). You’re also going to pay a premium for a Proven Closer™ tag, so I prefer teammate Matt Belisle. [Troy Renck]
- The Yankees have not been aggressive in their pursuit of Headley but they have inquired. Don’t expect them to part with much of anything for a stopgap third baseman. [Marc Carig]
- Some other names that have popped up in the team’s third base search include Willie Bloomquist, Brendan Ryan, Yunel Escobar, Chone Figgins, Jose Lopez, Cody Ransom (!), Mark Reynolds, and Scott Rolen. Obviously some are more available and desirable than others. [Jon Heyman]
When word got out that Alex Rodriguez suffered a broken bone in his left hand when Felix Hernandez hit him with that 3-1 changeup on Tuesday night, you couldn’t help but immediately dream up elaborate trade scenarios to plug the third base hole. Hanley Ramirez was dealt to the Dodgers a few hours later, taking that option off the table. Stopgaps like Marco Scutaro and Stephen Drew make sense but do not satiate our trade deadline appetite.
Aside from Hanley, the other big name on the market is Chase Headley of the Padres. San Diego has made it know that they’re willing to move their best player as long as they get a nice bounty of young kids in return, and a whole lotta teams have expressed interest. Yesterday we heard that the Yankees will at least entertain the idea of making a run at him, a guy who would more than capably replace A-Rod at the hot corner for the time being. Quite frankly he would be an upgrade.
Headley, 28, owns a 125 wRC+ this year and has you’d expect, he’s been substantially better away from Petco Park. The switch-hitter has a 103 wRC+ at home this season (91 career) compared to 147 on the road (129 career). He hasn’t hit for much power even away from Petco — career .148 ISO on the road — but he’s already hit a career-best 12 homers this year. Headley draws lots of walks (12.2%) and puts together lengthy at-bats (4.08 pitches were plate appearances), leading to strong OBPs. Move him out of San Diego and who knows, his offense may really take off just because his mind is clear of cavernous Petco. Plus entering his prime years won’t hurt.
Much of Headley’s value comes from his defense at the hot corner, which basically every metric agrees is above-average if not better. He played 196 games and nearly 1,700 innings in left field from 2008-2009 in deference to Kevin Kouzmanoff, but he’s not an outfielder. Not an everyday outfielder, I should say. Headley is making $3.475M this season and will be arbitration-eligible as a Super Two both next year and the year after. He’ll be a free agent after 2014. That’s nice and affordable, pretty much as good as it gets.
Acquiring Headley to replace A-Rod this year before shifting him to a corner outfield spot and using him to replace Nick Swisher is a bit of a stretch given his limited exposure to the outfield. It’s possible but hardly a slam dunk. There’s a chance that the position change — or worse, bouncing him between third, the outfield, DH, etc. — will negatively impact his production at the plate and overall value. These guys aren’t robots, changing positions on the fly at the big league for a contending team is very hard to do. The Yankees love to rotate their DHs, so sticking A-Rod there full-time next year and going forward seems unlikely.
If you want to play some fun fantasy GM games, the Yankees could acquire Headley to replace A-Rod this summer then flip him to the Diamondbacks as part of a Justin Upton package during he offseason. Arizona wants a third baseman but is very unlikely to deal with the Padres– not only are they division rivals, but there is still some bad ownership blood following the defection of Jeff Moorad. The Yankees would get their temporary third base fill-in and then a long-term corner outfielder. It’s perfect! … on paper.
Back in reality, the Yankees simply may not have enough to acquire Headley. The asking price is high as it should be — the third best market is barren and the Padres have the best available player to offer. Headley’s young, cheap, productive, and under control for a few more years. That guy will require a haul, likely three or four prospects with at least one stud and two or three other solid pieces. That’s just me spit-balling though, I have no idea what exactly the Padres are seeking.
I irrationally like Headley — I think he has star potential outside of Petco during his peak years — but the Yankees seem more likely to add a short-term stopgap at the hot corner. He’s a square peg they would have to force into a round hole once A-Rod returns, not to mention give up a healthy amount of prospects to acquire. Logistically it just doesn’t work not matter how much I would like it too.
With Alex Rodriguez likely to miss several due to a broken bone in his left hand, the Yankees will explore the third base trade market and consider all options according to Joel Sherman and Buster Olney. That includes Chase Headley of the Padres. The Yankees expect to have A-Rod back by mid-September but won’t know for sure until he sees the doctors in New York tomorrow.
As I mentioned this morning, potential stopgap options could include Marco Scutaro, Stephen Drew, Placido Polanco, and Ty Wigginton. I would be pretty surprised if they made a significant move for someone like Headley, who is under team control as an arbitration eligible player through 2014, though I wouldn’t be opposed to it. The Yankees will recall Ramiro Pena to take A-Rod’s spot in the short-term, but I would not be shocked if something comes together quickly and the team finds a more viable replacement during tomorrow’s day off.