Chase Headley Rumors
There's been plenty of speculation that the Padres will trade Chase Headley this July after he stated his unwillingness to negotiate an extension mid-season, but Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes that the team still has no intentions of moving him.
Majority owner Ron Fowler went on record earlier this month as saying that the team wanted to offer Headley a multiyear contract that would be the largest in franchise history, which seemed to take the 28-year-old by surprise. Headley stated that he told the team before the season that he didn't want to negotiate once the 2013 campaign commenced, and he's stuck by that.
Heyman reports that it's believed the Padres preferred to get something done this offseason without crossing the $100MM barrier. It's believed that ownership and GM Josh Byrnes were hoping for something in the five-year, $75MM range.
Earlier in May, when the extension rumors began, I speculated that a five-year, $85MM deal would work for both sides. However, agents not involved in the negotiations told Heyman that Ryan Zimmerman's six-year, $100MM contract would likely have to be a baseline for a Headley extension. In spite of that speculation, Byrnes repeated that the team's preference is to sign him long-term, adding:
"We can't wait forever. We have a group that's trying to take it to the next level. And that's what we're hoping to do.''
Byrnes conceded that many teams have made an attempt to acquire Headley over the past year, with Heyman noting that the Pirates made "an especially spirited" effort. Heyman also adds that the Indians, Diamondbacks and and Dodgers tried to a lesser extent and came up short. Byrnes added that since those trade efforts took place, the Padres have only come to value Headley even more.
Last month, a poll showed that MLBTR readers were evenly divided on the issue, with 51 percent feeling he'd be traded and 49 percent feeling he would sign an extension.
Here's a look at the latest edition of Full Count from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports..
- Chase Headley is probably going to be traded by the July 31st deadline. The Padres plan to spend the next two months determining whether they can lock up the third baseman long term, but there are two problems with that. For starters, Headley says he doesn't want to talk about a new deal during the season. Secondly, it would be surprising to see San Diego crack $100MM to keep him. Headley probably wants a better hitting environment and to play for a better team. Meanwhile, there's no shortage of teams that would like to add him as Rosenthal says there could be at least a dozen clubs in the market for a third baseman, including the Dodgers, Cubs, and White Sox.
- If Mike Napoli stays healthy and continues producing, the Red Sox first baseman will build his case for a multi-year deal in free agency. Of course, Boston reduced their three-year offer to Napoli to one-year after learning he had a condition in both hips. However, he's taking MRIs every three months to keep tabs on it and if the tests show that his condition is improved or stable, a team might be willing to extend a longer offer, especially since he's playing first base rather than catcher.
- Josh Johnson is the Blue Jays' most obvious trade candidate but if the season becomes a train wreck, they'll have the ability to move virtually any player. Jose Reyes is the only player signed beyond 2015 while most players on multi-year deals are signed at affordable prices and no one has a no-trade clause. Brandon Morrow might be an interesting name as the club has lots of young pitching coming. Of course, the Blue Jays have to fall out of things before considering such a move.
- It's bad enough for the Angels that shortstop Jean Segura is blossoming into a star elsewhere, but they've also traded away an entire rotation's worth of talent in recent years. The Halos sent Patrick Corbin and Tyler Skaggs to Arizona for Dan Haren, Donn Roach to San Diego for Ernesto Frieri, and Johnny Hellweg to Milwaukee in the Zack Greinke deal. On top of that, the Angels weakened their farm system by giving up their first and second round picks last year for Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson and their first round pick this year to ink Josh Hamilton. Their top pick last year was No. 114, this year it'll be No. 59.
Third baseman Chase Headley has become the face of the Padres franchise following a breakout 2012 season that saw him finish fifth in the NL MVP voting. Headley hit .286/.376/.498 with 31 homers in his age-28 season, leading to a great deal of extension rumors.
Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler -- part of the team's new ownership group -- told reporters yesterday that the team was preparing to make a franchise-record offer to Headley. Unfortunately, they seem to have forgotten to mention that fact to Headley, leading to a puzzled reaction and a reiteration from their star third baseman that he doesn't want to discuss an extension during the season.
While that may be true, it's certainly possible that the allure of $75MM or more would change Headley's stance on negotiatons. There's also the possibility, as noted by Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, that Headley's reluctance toward a midseason extension increases the likelihood that he will be traded.
For what it's worth, Headley had great things to say about San Diego and added that he hopes extension talks can be revisited after the season. Whatever the outcome, it stands to reason that the Padres will have resolved the situation by Opening Day 2014. If he's reluctant to discuss an extension this season, it's even less likely that he'd want to do so in his contract year. And, if the Padres elect to trade Headley, he will need to be with his new team for the entire 2014 season to qualify for draft pick compensation.
Athletics GM Billy Beane is in favor of recognizing teams with the best regular-season records, NBC Sports' Joe Posnanski reports. Beane, who was quoted in Moneyball as saying his "s*** doesn't work in the playoffs," calls the postseason a "gauntlet of randomness."
"[W]e allow small sample sizes and random events to determine the champion. That’s how it is in baseball," says Beane. Each team plays 162 games in baseball, an enormous number, and both Beane and Posnanski feel that stellar performances in the regular season shouldn't be completely washed away by a bad performance in a short playoff series.
Posnanski suggests a system in which the playoffs and World Series still exist ("The playoffs are a great thing for our sport – I want to make that clear," Beane says), but Major League Baseball presents separate, and meaningful, awards for the teams with the best records in each league. It's an interesting idea, even if, as Alex Remington at FanGraphs points out, there's no chance it will happen. Here are more notes from the West Coast.
- New Padres owner Ron Fowler told the media that the team planned to offer Chase Headley a contract extension, but Fowler never mentioned that to Headley, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes. That led to a surprised reaction from Headley, who said, "To be honest, this is not something we've discussed."
- The Dodgers have not yet extended the contract of manager Don Mattingly, who has only a team option in place next season, and Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles wonders why. But team president Stan Kasten says it's a non-issue. "The team has its option some time next fall. What’s wrong with just leaving it at that?" says Kasten. "The answer is nothing and it’s stupid to suggest otherwise. If he had a 10-year contract, but we weren’t happy with his performance, he wouldn’t be here next year, because they’re unrelated." The Dodgers are off to a 13-14 start this year.
12:55pm: Headley tells MLB.com's Corey Brock that he is "flattered" by the concept of an offer and loves playing in San Diego, but makes it clear that he and his agent do not want to negotiate an extension during the season:
"We made it abundantly clear [before] that we didn't want to talk about it during the season. I didn't think that for me and for the team that it was good to get caught up with all of this during the season."
Headley made a point to say that he hopes the two sides can revisit negotiations after the 2013 season, citing a love of the fans, the city and the way he's been treated by the organization since he was drafted in the second round in 2005.
11:01am: The Padres aren't a team that is known for issuing massive contracts, but it appears that the team's new ownership is willing to change that perception in order to retain Chase Headley. Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler told Bill Center and Chris Jenkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune that by midseason the team offer Headley a multi-year contract that would make him the richest player in franchise history:
"Will it be 10 years? No," said Fowler. "We're not going to do something like that. But we will do an offer that will be the largest offer we've ever made to a player in San Diego history and think it will be very close to some of the numbers I read in the press."
Jake Peavy currently holds the Friars' franchise record for largest contract with a three-year, $52MM deal signed back in 2007. That was on top of a pre-existing $14.5MM contract with an $8MM club option, bringing the total Peavy commitment to $74MM for the 2005-12 seasons.
Headley is further along in his arbitration years than Peavy was at the signing of his extension, so the Padres will need to pay closer to market value for Headley's free agent years. The 28-year-old Headley is controlled through the 2014 season but told Center and Jenkins that an extension will require a lengthy commitment:
“A three-year deal would put me in the same position I am now in about a year and I don’t want to do this again,” Headley said.
I agree with the Union-Tribune duo in speculating that any extension for Headley would need to cover at least the next five seasons. Comparables for a Headley deal could include Evan Longoria and David Wright, both of whom signed extensions this offseason that valued their free agent seasons at roughly $17MM each. Assuming a $13MM salary for Headley's final arb year, an extension covering the 2015-18 seasons would cost $81MM at that rate. If Padres GM Josh Byrnes is able to secure a club option at $17MM for the 2019 season with a $4MM buyout, a five-year $85MM extension similar to the one Andre Ethier signed a year ago seems feasible.
Headley's agents at Excel Sports Management could push to make him the Padres' first $100MM player by increasing the guaranteed commitment to six seasons with a hefty buyout on an option for a seventh year. While Headley lacks the track record of most $100MM players, he's continued his 2012 production early this year. Another two months of elite production could help the case.
Back in August, majority owner John Moores sold the Padres to a group headed by Fowler and several members of the O'Malley family, who previously owned the Dodgers. It's possible that the new ownership, who purchased the team for $800MM, could use Headley as a way to begin a legacy and show the fans a commitment to winning.
The Padres' 6-15 record is the second-worst in baseball and fans are starting to get impatient, judging by the tone of several questions (or just outright rants) posed to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune during his latest online chat. Here are a few of the hot stove notes from Center...
- Some fans are calling for a fire sale but Center points out that such a move wouldn't be prudent given how many Padres are underachieving. "Even if the Padres started unloading players, what would they get for what they have? Unfortunately, they couldn't sell high in very many areas right now. Honestly, unloading might only make it worse," Center writes.
- Chase Headley is perhaps the only Padre that would fetch a premium return on the trade market, though Headley himself has struggled (.547 OPS) since returning from the DL. Center notes that Headley's struggles could actually help the Padres long-term since it would lower Headley's price on a possible extension.
- Since Headley is under team control through next season, Center doesn't think the Friars need to decide on the third baseman until mid-2014. That said, losing Headley "might be a major blow to the new owners' already weakening perception among fans." MLBTR's Tim Dierkes recently looked at a few of the teams who might be interested in acquiring Headley should San Diego put him on the market this summer.
- Center speculates that Carlos Quentin could be open to waiving his no-trade clause if he was dealt to an AL club where he could serve as a designated hitter.
- Josh Byrnes was given permission by team management to pursue a trade for Justin Upton this past winter. The Diamondbacks wanted a package from the Padres that would've included Headley "and more" Major League talent, not only prospects. Ultimately the D'Backs had concerns about dealing Upton to a division rival and the talks led nowhere. Any San Diego/Arizona trade, of course, contains some extra baggage given that Byrnes used to be the Diamondbacks' GM and Kevin Towers is a former Padres general manager.
- Firing Bud Black may not be the answer, as Center believes Black "has the same ingredients" as former Padres manager Bruce Bochy. Despite Bochy's four division titles in 12 years as Padres' manager, the club let him go to the Giants, where he has since won two World Series championships.
Padres third baseman Chase Headley aims to make his 2013 season debut this week after fracturing his thumb in March. Headley, who turns 29 in May, has a lot of factors conspiring to make him a trade candidate this summer:
- He's very good at baseball. Headley's baseball card numbers last year were fantastic: 31 home runs and 115 RBIs. He finished fifth in the NL MVP vote and snagged a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger. He was worth 7.2 wins above replacement, sixth among all position players last year.
- To date, the Padres have not signed him to a long-term contract extension. There's good reason for this. As a player who came into his power later in his team-controlled career, Headley wasn't necessarily worth extending until this past offseason. Now, with only one season of more than 12 home runs on his resume, it's likely difficult to pin down a fair offer for both sides. Still, star-caliber non-Boras guys with four-plus years of big league service who are not locked up are a rarity. 2014 will be Headley's contract year, so he may prefer to just play it out and get a piece of that free agent pie.
- Headley is more than a rental, since he's under control through 2014. Teams strongly prefer that when giving up top prospects in trades. The general logic is that the Padres can get more for Headley this summer than during the offseason (assuming he plays decently upon his return). Plus, even though the Padres have not reached an extension agreement with Headley, that exclusive extension window is valuable to some teams.
- Though only 7.4% of their season is in the books, the Padres are not looking like contenders, with a 2-10 record. This can change, of course, but the team would need to play .580 ball from here on out to reach 89 wins.
This raises the question: which contenders could use a middle of the order third baseman?
- The Yankees have Kevin Youkilis under contract, though Headley would be a better option at the hot corner. Youk can also play first base, but Mark Teixeira will be back manning that position by the time trading season rolls around. Travis Hafner seems a nice fit as the semi-regular designated hitter. With his recovery from hip surgery and the Biogenesis situation, the Yankees shouldn't count on Alex Rodriguez for anything, but if he is able to play this year it will further clog up the third base and DH spots. So while Headley would be nice to have, it'd be complicated, unless the Yankees suffer new injuries.
- The Blue Jays are all-in this year, and if they gain some comfort with the idea of Brett Lawrie at second base, they could add Headley and keep Jose Bautista in right field.
- The Royals appear set at third base with Mike Moustakas, but they could upgrade to Headley and include Moustakas in the trade. This is another team that has invested a lot in winning now.
- It's a similar situation for the Indians and Lonnie Chisenhall -- it seems like he'd have to be part of the deal for them to make sense.
- Jeff Keppinger has been pressed into second base duty for the White Sox following Gordon Beckham's injury. But either player could shift to a utility role with a Headley acquisition, or Beckham could be part of the deal.
- The Athletics have Josh Donaldson at third base, but Headley would be an upgrade. Same goes for the Angels and Alberto Callaspo.
- The National League is light on good trade partners for Headley at present, but the Braves are an obvious match. He'd be a huge addition for a team that is looking great in the early going.
- I won't completely rule out the Orioles, Cardinals, Pirates, Rockies, or Dodgers. But whether due to third base incumbents or the reduced chances of an intra-division trade, these teams seem unlikely.
The nine top names to watch in Los Angeles baseball in 2013 include Chase Headley and Robinson Cano, argues Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Headley could be an in-season trade target for the Dodgers, and Cano will likely be connected to the Dodgers as a free agent next winter. Shaikin also suggests that if the Dodgers don't do well in 2013, they could try to hire Rays GM Andrew Friedman. Here are more notes from the West divisions.
- The Mariners' decision to keep Jason Bay and designate Casper Wells for assignment doesn't make sense, Jeff Sullivan of USS Mariner says. Sullivan notes that Wells is younger, had four years of team control remaining, and has recently been the better player on both offense and defense -- and the Mariners will likely lose him for virtually nothing. "Wells, probably, is going to end up getting traded to a team with a thin outfield in exchange for a non-roster barely-prospect," Sullivan says. Sullivan also points out that Wells was one of the key players in the Doug Fister deal with the Tigers. The Tigers already looked like clear winners in that trade, but it's even clearer now.
- The Giants' signing of Buster Posey to an eight-year, $159MM contract demonstrates the inequities between the Giants and the Athletics, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. The Giants have opposed the Athletics' move to San Jose. "It's more than mildly ironic that the Giants granted a single player a contract that exceeds the A's entire payroll by a factor of three," says San Jose City Councilman Sam Liccardo.
- The trade of Vernon Wells to the Yankees gave the Angels additional payroll flexibility, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com writes. The deal leaves the Angels about $6MM under the luxury tax threshold, Gonzalez reports.
The Padres received some bad news earlier today when they found out that Chase Headley will miss a month of action with a fractured thumb, according to MLB.com's Corey Brock (on Twitter). Here's some more out of baseball's Western divisions...
- Kyle McClellan will not exercise the out clause in his minor league deal with the Rangers despite the fact that he might not pitch in a game for eight weeks, writes MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. McClellan is on the shelf with a strained muscle in his rib cage but will remain with the Rangers as he rehabs from his injury.
- The Giants expect Yusmeiro Petit to accept his outright assignment to Triple-A Fresno, reports Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter). Petit was outrighted off the 40-man roster last night but can elect to become a free agent rather than accept the assignment.
- D-backs top prospect Tyler Skaggs was among the players optioned to Triple-A today, writes MLB.com's Steve Gilbert. Skaggs was one of the players that Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic profiled in a piece that examines some of the roster decisions manager Kirk Gibson and GM Kevin Towers will be facing as Spring Training draws to a close.
- Angels backstop Hank Conger called today's signing of Chris Snyder "more motivation to come out and try to do my job," tweets MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. The Halos inked Snyder earlier today following his release from the Nationals.
The Padres haven’t settled on a long-term strategy for handling Chase Headley, but they aren’t going to trade him any time soon. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News hears from a high-ranking NL West executive that the Padres front office will see how the team plays before determining whether to trade Headley or pursue an extension with him.
Padres general manager Josh Byrnes recently told Peter Gammons of MLB Network that he doesn't intend to trade impact offensive players such as Headley. However, some evaluators aren’t convinced that the third baseman will replicate his breakout 2012 season, Martino reports.
The Yankees are considering corner infielders and, on paper, seem like a possible suitor for Headley. As they wait for the Padres to determine a course of action with Headley, the Yankees will look to the Astros for potential trade targets, Martino reports. The Astros have depth at first base and could move a player such as Carlos Pena.
Headley, 28, posted a .286/.376/.498 batting line with 31 home runs in 2012. He'll earn $8.575MM in 2013 and will remain under team control through 2014.