The Yankees made some news on Tuesday as they acquired third baseman Chase Headley and about $1 million dollars in cash considerations from the San Diego Padres in exchange for pitcher Rafael De Paula and feel good story Yangervis Solarte (He’s a third baseman). While Headley, who batted .286 with 31 homers and 115 RBI in 2012, has had two very down seasons, he’s an upgrade over the combo of Zelous Wheeler, Solarte and the name that makes you cringe, Kelly Johnson. While he’ll never be mistaken for Brooks Robinson at third, Headley’s defense is better than that of Johnson and, even though his offensive production is down, he’s a better hitter than all three of them. Even though his numbers (.229, 7 homers and 32 RBI) aren’t the best, there are a lot of positive factors that could add up to a big two months in pinstripes!
For one, Yankee Stadium looks like the parking lot of your local Petco compared to the Grand Canyon that is San Diego’s Petco Park. Headley possesses power. Not Barry Bonds power, but enough to hit maybe 12 home runs over the next two months. Petco Park is one of the largest stadiums in baseball, and there’s only so much success a slugger can have in a stadium that seems to have a never ending outfield. Now Yankee Stadium is well… Yankee Stadium.
Moving from one of the worst hitter’s parks in baseball to one of the best in baseball, should help out the struggling slugger. Also, Headley finally has protection in the lineup. After 2012, National League pitchers looked up and down the Padres’ lineup and must have realized that pitching to Headley with very little offensive support around him isn’t really a smart idea. So, joining a lineup with guys like Ellsbury, Gardner, McCann, Beltran and Teixeira causes American League pitchers to think a little more when navigating the Bombers’ lineup.
Lastly, Headley is coming into the Bronx with no expectations on him, but to pick up a razor and shave his beard. Just like Brandon McCarthy, Headley has replaced a player whose production, or lack of production, has caused Yankees fans to really dislike. McCarthy of course ended the Vidal Nuno Era and he’s 1-0 with an ERA under 2.00 and Headley is taking the spot of Kelly Johnson and has already delivered a walk-off base knock in the second game of the series against the Texas Rangers. Simply put, in San Diego, Headey was THE guy and here in New York he’s just ONE guy.
Joe Girardi surprised absolutely nobody when he said that Headley is now the everyday 3rd baseman. He adds some stability to one of the Yankees weakest positions and throws another power bat into the Yankees lineup. With Mark Teixeira out for a few days struggling with injuries, Headley can also provide a suitable backup at first, which provides everyone’s favorite attribute in versatility as players like Johnson and Zelous Wheeler can also play multiple positions.
The fact that Headley is a switch-hitter doesn’t hurt either, and a lineup stuffed with those types of bats is a nightmare for opposing managers. He’ll join Beltran, Teixeira and Brian Roberts as the Yankees’ everyday switch-hitters. This isn’t just a good move for the Yankees, it’s a necessary one. They could not continue their pursuit of the first place Baltimore Orioles with the third base spot in the state it was in. Brian Cashman has made two very solid moves by acquiring McCarthy and now Headley, and he’ll likley continue shopping and making moves right up until the trade deadline. Stay tuned for what comes next and keep your ear to the ground for the latest trade rumblings.