Back in July, the New York Yankees made somewhat of a push to land third-baseman Chase Headley from the San Diego Padres. Since Headley was never moved out of San Diego, the question for the Yankees still remains, to go or not to go after him? Aside from the obvious need for a DH if Raul Ibanez is not re-signed, the Yankees’ left side of the infield is also older and as we saw in October, more prone to injury. Perhaps if the Yankees don’t go after Jeff Keppinger, then maybe trading for Headley is better, yet costlier in the end.
Let me get one thing straight though, trading for Headley would be absolutely out of want and not need. The Yankees’ third base position isn’t all that bad defensively, but offensively is where it has seen struggles. That said, Headley doesn’t have to be a third baseman only. Throughout his career, Headley has also played at first and left field. There’s also the DH spot, where Headley has played, but limiting him solely to that would be a waste of his defensive talents.
Hypothetically, Headley could play three games at third, then two at DH while Alex Rodriguez takes over at third for those games. It’s not inconceivable, but unlikely as A-Rod has gone through the past two seasons not playing at least 90 games at third. Maybe it’s something Rodriguez would like to accomplish, but Joe Girardi knows his players and if A-Rod just can’t do it like he used to, then you put in Headley. In 2012, Headley played in 160 games, 159 of which were at third, and won a Gold Glove for his work. A-Rod only started in 122 games, 81 which were at third.
Offensively in 2012, it wasn’t all that close, but still close enough that Headley didn’t run away with it.
- Headley: .286/.376/.498 slash line, 31 HRs, 115 RBIs, 17 stolen bases, .378 wOBA, 145 wRC+
- Rodriguez: .272/.353/.430 slash line, 18 HRs, 57 RBIs, 13 stolen bases, .324 wOBA, 114 wRC+
Remember once again, Headley played in 160 games whereas Rodriguez played in 122. Despite that though, the one thing that really stands out more than anything is the wRC+ of both players. Petco Park, home of the Padres, is by no means a hitter-friendly ballpark. In fact, in 2012, Petco Park ranked 28th in home runs yet Headley still managed to hit 42 percent of his home runs there. Yankee Stadium ranked eighth in home runs and with the short porch in right, it’s not hard to see why.
Also what stands out aside from wRC+ is the insane amount of runs Headley drove in. Headley led the NL in RBI, narrowly beating out Ryan Braun‘s 112. Overall in the entirety of MLB, Headley was only behind Triple-Crown and AL MVP winner Miguel Cabrera and the free-agent commodity that is Josh Hamilton. Pretty impressive to compete with all of those guys, considering Headley hadn’t really had a career defining season until 2012. Not to say he’s going to be one and done, maybe this is a sign of better things to come for him.
Is Headley the perfect fit in New York? Probably not, but he’d be a tremendous step up for the lackluster, home run dependent Yankees we saw in 2012. Headley presents power, but solid contact and production that drives in an insane amount of runs. Not to mention, he can steal some bases. Defensively, his glove is solid and wouldn’t hamper the already Gold Gloved infield of the Yankees. Now obviously trading for him, the Padres basically need anything they can, albeit pitching and offensive. Who the Yankees are willing to part ways with now is pure speculation, but don’t expect guys like Manny Banuelos, Gary Sanchez and Mark Montgomery to go anywhere. This still is a move the Yankees could seriously think about and Headley would thrive in Yankee Stadium.