Padres GM Josh Byrnes says his club is prepared to enter 2014 with third baseman Chase Headley on a one-year contract, Bill Center of U-T San Deigo reports. Headley enters his final year of arbitration in 2014 and will become a free agent after the end of the season unless he's signed to an extension. He's projected to earn $10MM through the arbitration process by MLBTR's Matt Swartz.
Speaking with Center on Saturday, Headley said he's still open to discussing a long-term deal with the Padres, the only Major League organization he's ever known. "I don’t want to draw a line in the sand," he said. "We have time. I’m not saying something will get done, but I’m saying it can happen." While the subject has been broached between player and team, Headley reports that talks "haven’t gone very far."
Headley, 29, appeared to establish himself as one of the game's premier players in 2012, compiling a .286/.376/.498 line despite half of his plate appearances coming in one of baseball's most pitching-friendly parks. However, he reverted to a .250/.347/.400 triple-slash in 2013, numbers that are largely in line with his career performance. Agents who spoke with CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman all the way back in May suggested Ryan Zimmerman's six-year, $100MM contract with the Nationals was a starting point for Headley extension discussions. The benchmark has presumably fallen after the third baseman's disappointing 2013, however.
If the Padres can't agree to terms with Headley, Peter Gammons of MLB Network reported last month that the team won't consider trading him until June at the earliest. The White Sox have been linked with Headley recently, and the Yankees, among other clubs, have been cited as a potential suitor in the past.