No Chase Just Yet: Why Headley Is Safe At Third…For Now
Despite the Yankees recent youth movement, veteran third baseman Chase Headley‘s job seems safe. For now, at least.
Many of the remaining veterans on the New York Yankees, most notably catcher Brian McCann and left fielder Brett Gardner, have been heavily rumored to be on the move in the last month or so. However, there haven’t been any credible rumors regarding 32-year-old third baseman Chase Headley. For the time being at least, it seems Headley will remain in the Bronx for the foreseeable future.
The Yankees obviously would like Headley to return to his 2012 form, where he slugged 31 home runs to go with 115 RBI, while hitting .286. Headley put up these numbers as a San Diego Padre, playing in spacious Petco Park. That year seems more and more like an anomaly compared to the rest of his career.
Even with his declining performance the last few years, Headley would be difficult to replace because the list of available third baseman is always short, but especially thin this winter. So for now, Headley’s 2016 line of .251 with 14 dingers isn’t so bad when you actually think about it.
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With Martin Prado recently extended by the Marlins, Justin Turner of the Dodgers is the only impact third baseman expected to on the market this winter, and there are rumors that Los Angeles could look to retain him.
Another thing in Headley’s favor is the absence of a veteran presence should the Yankees succeed in moving McCann this offseason. While Starlin Castro is a veteran of seven major league seasons and Sir Didi Gregorious five, each will be only 27 years old when the season starts.
Headley turns 33 in May. While that may not seem like much of an age difference, Starlin and Didi are still young enough to fit with the prospects. Headley, however, could be considered among the team leaders due to his work ethic and experience.
The Yankees do have a legitimate third base prospect in the upper-minors. Miguel Andujar, 21, got off to a hot start in the Arizona Fall League and has gotten the scouts attention. After knocking in 42 runs in 72 games following a promotion to Double A Trenton, Andujar will most likely start the season at Triple A Scanton.
The young third baseman has been praised for his hard work and his quick hands, but is short on power. He’ll more than likely need a whole season at Triple A before being ready, but you never know.
This coming spring training, Chase Headley will be penciled in as the starting third baseman, as he should be. Despite a bout with throwing errors in 2015 that was overblown, Headley has played a solid third base during his time in New York.
Utility man Ronald Torreyes has experience at the hot corner and in spots has played well. Headley, while inconsistent with his hitting, is much better on defense. Torreyes is better suited for his current role, as he can play multiple positions, most importantly shortstop.
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Last spring the Yankees tried out Rob Refsnyder at third with disastrous results, as the team pulled the plug on the experiment after a few days. There was also talk around the time of maybe moving Starlin Castro to third, but nothing came of it. This year Headley should be able to get comfortable and try to regain his stroke. But if someone like Miguel Andujar continues to impress, it may signal that the chase for third base is on.