Reports have noted that the Blue Jays are looking for upgrades at second base or third base for the past few days, and Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that multiple baseball sources have confirmed that Chase Headley is among Toronto’s targets. San Diego appears willing to move the struggling third baseman, as one source tells Sanders that the Friars are “open for business” on talks involving anyone except ace Andrew Cashner.
Headley’s trade value is a bit tough to determine for a number of reasons. He’s earning $10.25MM this season in his final year before free agency, but he hasn’t played up to his standards, having produced just a .199/.286/.328 line with six homers and a pair of steals. Beyond his somewhat high salary is the fact that he underwent an epidural injection in an attempt to alleviate pain in his back caused by a herniated disc. He missed four games following the epidural and is back on the field, but as Sanders notes, interested parties seem likely to wait a bit to see how Headley responds to the treatment.
Lastly, the Padres may simply not wish to sell low on Headley, who in 2012 was a legitimate MVP candidate but has been bothered by injuries since. Headley rode a monstrous second-half surge that season to a fifth-place finish in the MVP voting, batting .308/.386/.592 after the All-Star break. Knowing that his diminished performance will lead to a lesser return in terms of prospects, San Diego may prefer to hope that Headley finishes with a strong performance. That could lead the Padres to make a qualifying offer and receive draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere, though that scenario is my own speculation and not something included in Sanders’ report.
The Blue Jays have relied heavily on Brett Lawrie and Juan Francisco at the hot corner this season. Francisco has seen a good deal of playing time against right-handed pitching, with Lawrie shifting to second base on those days. When the Jays face a lefty starter, Lawrie has shifted back to third with one of Steven Tolleson or Munenori Kawasaki handling second base. However, Lawrie is currently on the DL and Francisco’s bat has cooled, even against right-handed pitching. Francisco is hitting just .164/.215/.377 in the month of June, and that slide, coupled with his poor defense at third, have likely played into Toronto’s motivation to search for upgrades.