Chase Headley – Photo by SD Dirk
After contract negotiations went nowhere this off-season it’s time for the Padres to cash in on Chase Headley’s breakout season. We have heard that this team is going to build from within and retain talent, but at a certain point if you can’t retain that talent you need to cash in and get maximum value.
Chase Headley’s value will likely never be higher.
After a breakout season that netted Headley a gold glove and a silver slugger, Headley has finally become the player everyone hoped he would be when he was nicknamed “The Savior”. With two seasons of control left, Headley’s trade value may not have a higher ceiling.
In the old days you traded players, in the current baseball landscape you trade for years of control. Two years of Chase Headley coming off a season in which he finished 5th in The NL MVP voting is better than one year of Headley, even if he repeats.
Super two status have given Headley extra leverage.
It’s fair for Chase to ask for market value. Being a super two has allowed his salary to jump substantially and also gives him the financial security to wait out the process.
The Padres are in a tough position. If Headley repeats he will get a substantial raise. If they don’t trade Headley and let the contract run its course, the team will need to make a qualifying offer to recoup a draft pick.
If Chase takes a step back and plays as he did before 2012, he’s still in line for a raise (yes, really). That will put the Padres in a tough spot. Either, tender Headley a contract or to let him walk for no compensation after the 2013 season. Yikes!
You can justify paying 2012 Headley 10-12M, but anything less than his 2012 season isn’t going to make sense given the short term of the situation.
What to do? Trade Headley now and get the maximum return.
As we have seen this off-season, guys that man the hot-corner are getting paid. Longoria and Wright are similar in age to Headley, both signed nine-figure extensions. It’s only reasonable to assume that Chase feels as though he can repeat his 2012 success and put himself in line to get a large pay day.
With that said, if you were Chase Headley, why would you sign a short 3-4 year team friendly deal when over the next two seasons you can make just under $20M and then cash in with a long term deal? Also consider that after 2014, more teams will have local TV money and the MLB National TV contracts double. You wouldn’t, and it looks as though Headley and his camp are right there with you. Let’s face facts; it will be easier for a 30 year old Chase Headley to break the bank than a 32 year old Chase Headley.
With teams such as the Dodgers, Angels, White Sox, Cubs, Phillies, and Braves in the market for third basemen, it’s unreasonable to expect the Padres to last long in a bidding war.
Jedd Gyorko is the new Chase Headley?
Not exactly. Jedd is a very nice hitter, but has not been the hitter Headley was in the minors. He also isn’t as solid at the hot corner. The names people throw out when comparing Gyorko’s potential are Ron Cey and Bill Madlock.
Yesterday you said the Padres needed to sign Headley to a long-term extension.
Indeed, and I still believe the logic is sound and would be my first option, assuming the terms are reasonable. I also feel as though it does make sense to trade Headley before the start of the 2013 season. Before someone throws out the “he will have just as much value at the trade deadline” nonsense, keep in mind that Headley puts up nice numbers in the first half, but they are suppressed by the marine layer. His slash line the first half of 2012 was .267/.368/.413.
The only move that makes little to no sense is keeping Headley and watching his trade value diminish. As the saying goes… “Sign him or get off the pot and trade him”
Photo by: SD Dirk, creative commons 2.0