After the 2012 season, the Padres were faced a with a tough decision: trade burgeoning star Chase Headley at the peak of his value or try and keep him and re-sign him. It would seem that the Padres chose secret option C.
Today, San Diego finally pulled the trigger on that Headley trade, sending him to the Yankees, who have coveted Headley for years. So what’s the big haul of future assets they got for Headley?
Oh. Really? That’s it?
What a difference two years makes. Instead of getting a collection of top prospects, all the Friars could weasel out of the Yankees was Quad-A talent Yangervis Solarte, an arm to dream on in Rafael De Paula, $1 million and the right to not have to pay Headley the rest of the season. Basically, it is a salary dump. After fleecing the Angels in the Huston Street trade, the three-headed GM in San Diego suddenly isn’t looking to genius anymore, not that it is their fault that Headley wasn’t trade two years ago.
Nor was it their fault that Headley has fallen on his face the last one and a half seasons. In 2013, Headley came back to earth with a .250/.347/.400 and 113 wRC+. That’s fine, especially considering his excellent defense at third, but it is a far cry from the star level he reached in 2012. Things got worse this year with Headley sitting at .229/.296/.355 and 88 wRC+. While Headley has been heating up this month, it is becoming more obvious each day that 2012 was a fluke.
What the Yankees are betting on, while risking very little, is that Headley can rebound back to being at least an above average starter but maybe even an All-Star caliber hitter like he was in 2012. The big hope has to be just that getting out of Petco Park and its vast dimensions, which Headley has griped about openly in the past, into Yankee Stadium with its jetstream and short porch in right will revitalize Headley. At worst, Headley will continue to struggle and the Yankees will continue to get mediocre production out of the hot corner, so no big loss. Either way, Headley doesn’t figure to make a major impact on the Yankees’ pursuit of a post-season berth since he isn’t a starting pitcher.