Padres, Chase Headley Avoid Arbitration

The Padres have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal with third baseman Chase Headley, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Excel Sports Management client will earn a $10.525MM salary in his final season prior to free agency, Sherman reports.

Consistently considered to be a trade candidate due to his looming free agency, the Padres' tight budget and the Padres' sub-.500 finishes in each of the past two seasons, the 29-year-old Headley has seen his name circulate on the rumor mill more than nearly any player in the past 18 to 24 months. However, San Diego GM Josh Byrnes told me back in November that the team was comfortable doing a one-year deal with Headley and entering 2014 with him as the third baseman, even without an extension.

The Padres reportedly wanted to offer Headley an extension that would make him the highest-paid player in franchise history early in the 2013 campaign. The news caught Headley off guard, as he'd informed the team that he did not want extension talks to spill beyond Opening Day.

Headley turned in a solid season in 2013, batting .250/.347/.400 with 13 homers, eight steals and excellent third-base defense, but that production was a far cry from his 2012 season. In 2012, Headley broke out with a .286/.376/.498 batting line, 31 homers and a career-best 17 steals to go along with his great glove-work. Headley likely didn't want to sign an extension after seeing his stock tumble, especially when a fractured thumb and a balky knee that required offseason surgery likely contributed to his 2013 decline.

Headley's $10.525MM salary is $525K higher than MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had projected. With Headley taken care of, San Diego has only Andrew Cashner remaining as an unsettled arb case, as shown in our Arbitration Tracker.

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