Headley Sweepstakes: Making Sense of the Madness
By Lionel Olivo
For several days now, Chase Headley has had sport writers in the world of baseball teetering at the edge of their collective seats. It was expected for him to sign with a team before or during the now concluded Winter Meetings, however, that was not the case.
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At the beginning of the off-season it was speculated that Headley would remain a Yankee because both seemed pleased with the results they had after he came over from the Padres. CBS’s John Heyman reported that the Yankees wanted to retain him because they loved him on the field and in the clubhouse. On his end, Headley is said to have told people that he was stunned at how much he enjoyed New York, which may be due to the fact that his BA jumped 33 points to .262 compared to the meager .229 he was batting with the Padres.
However, during the course of the off-season, Headley became a very coveted player. This was due to the fact that Aramis Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval signed free agent contracts with the Brewers and Red Sox respectively, leaving Headley as the only option for teams solve their third base deficiencies via free agency. Aside from the Yankees, he’s also been linked to the Giants, Marlins and Astros.
Unfortunately for Headley, none of those teams are willing to go beyond $39 million for 3 years, an offer he had and rejected from the Padres at the beginning of the year. “A three-year deal would put me in the same position I am now in about a year and I don’t want to do this again,” said Headley at that time.
While the market currently favors Headley, the Yankees did benefit from their brief time together, the team does have options at third base. In a worst case scenario, they are stuck with an aging Alex Rodriguez as his steroid-ravaged body continues to deteriorate. During his last quasi-healthy year (2012), he played 122 games. How many options do the Yankees have? The following is a list of players either in the Yankee organization or available through free agency:
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In any case, Headley possesses a combination of batting and defense that would be difficult, but not impossible to replace. If he wants to continue to enjoy the upswing on his statistics, the New York Yankees is where he should stay. The fact of the matter is that he’s not getting any younger. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have enough talent or name recognition to attract a bigger offer. However, no one can blame him for trying to sell while his stock is still high.