Yankees Should Give Up On Chase Headley


In several of my articles, I’ve made a big deal about the Yankees needing to resign third baseman Chase Headley. However, I’ve since realized that letting him go wouldn’t be so bad. 

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Martin Prado is a solid third baseman. In 110 games at the hot corner last season (between the Diamondbacks and Yankees) he made 13 errors (a few too many), but his overall defensive numbers were well above average. His UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) was 5.3 and according to DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) he saved 8 runs. He can be the regular third baseman.

There is no denying that Headley is a much better fielder (UZR of 20.9 while saving 13 runs) but Prado has a slight offensive edge.

Over the past two seasons, Headley’s production has trended downward. In 2012 he hit .286/.376/.498 with 36 home runs, 115 RBIs, and 63 extra-base hits. His performance earned him a top-5 finish in NL MVP voting. However, 2013 was a much different story as he hit only .250/.347/.400 with only 13 homers, 50 RBIs, and 50 extra-base hits.

He continued to falter when the 2014 season began, hitting an abysmal .229/.296/.355 with 7 home runs, 32 RBIs, and 20 extra-base hits with the Padres. Even though his performance improved after being traded to the Yankees, he still only hit .243/.328/.372 with 13 home runs, 49 RBIs, and 34 extra base hits between the two teams.

Prado has remained a consistently solid hitter. In 2012 he hit .301/.359/.438 with 10 home runs, 70 RBIs, and 58 extra-base hits. This might have been his best season in the big leagues, but the Braves decided to send him to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a package which would get them Justin Upton and Chris Johnson in return

He performed well for the Diamondbacks in 2013, hitting .282/.333/.417 with 14 home runs, 82 RBIs, and 52 extra-base hits. Unfortunately Prado struggled in the beginning of 2014, hitting only .270/.317/.370 with 5 home runs, 42 RBIs, and 26 extra-base hits before the D-Backs traded him to the Yankees for infield prospect Peter O’Brien and a player to be named later.

Once Prado arrived in New York his bat woke up. In 37 games, he hit .316/.336/.541 with 7 home runs, 16 RBIs, and 16 extra-base hits.

Overall, he hit .282/.321/.412 with 12 homers, 58 RBIs, and 42 extra-base hits in 143 games.

Also, there is something to be said for players who consistently put the ball in play. Yes, strikeouts are an accepted part of the game, but they are in no way positive.

Headley has struck out 421 times over the past three seasons which has accounted for over 26% of his at-bats over this span. On the other hand, Prado has struck out only 202 times over the same amount of time, which only makes up 12% of his at-bats.

Even though the ability to make contact is a valuable trait, the ability to stay out of double plays is even more important. Last season, Headley grounded into 17 double plays while Prado grounded into 20, which isn’t a huge difference. The lack of double plays along with each of their strikeout totals shows that Prado has a large advantage.

Not only is Prado the better option at third base, but letting Headley walk would also give either Rob Refsnyder or Jose Pirela the opportunity to win a starting job in the Major Leagues which would give the Yankees some much desired youth.

This isn’t to say that resigning Headley would be a bad thing, but it’s not their best course of action.