Yankees Editorial: Chase Headley Starting To Fit Into Role On Yankees
It may feel like Chase Headley has been a New York Yankee for a while, but this is his first full season in pinstripes. Headley came over from the Padres at the trade deadline last year and was effective from day one. Yankees GM Brian Cashman made a series of low budget moves in 2014 and they all seemed to pay off. Headley performed so well that the Yankees brought him back to the tune of a 4 year $52 million dollar contract.
2015 is the first season in a long time that Headley can simply relax and play ball. He was involved in Padres trade rumors for years. Now with a relatively long-term contract, he’s ready to show up every day and help the Yankees win games.
Headley also had a back issue he dealt with for the first half of last season that hurt his playing ability. This season he feels 100% healthy.
Through three series against the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox, and Baltimore Orioles, Headley is hitting .229 with two home runs and five RBI. Nine games is obviously a somewhat small sample size, but Headley is going to want to start hitting soon before Yankees fans turn on him. Alex Rodriguez has been successful early this season, including two home runs, 7 RBI, and a .394 OBP. While A-Rod won’t be taking Headley’s job anytime soon, he is at least giving Headley something to think about.
Headley is “young” in Yankee years. He won’t turn 31 until the end of May, meaning he actually has strong baseball years ahead of him. In the next two years, he is going to see the infield around him get younger. Didi Gregorius will still be in his 20s at shortstop, Rob Refsnyder or Jose Pirela will be at second, and Gregory Bird will be at first base.
Alex Rodriguez is the everyday DH this season, but will be playing first and third whenever a day off is needed by Headley or Mark Teixeira. While Rodriguez has already shown that his play at first should not be relied on, he can still be an average to above average third baseman.
The Yankees have a large financial commitment to both Rodriguez and Headley. As the Yankees said during the off-season after his signing, Headley is the team’s everyday third baseman. The entire offense is struggling offensively, with most of the team batting under .250, and Headley is no exception. He has already had some great moments this season. He hit the game tying home run with two outs in the ninth inning against the Red Sox in the first game of the series. Yankee fans are on his side. He just needs to start producing more consistently.