Chase Headley Rumors
Over the past two years, Chase Headley has endured the peaks and valleys that come with being a highly-regarded and highly-sought after baseball talent. The roller coaster ride will continue for another season as the Padres ponder whether to trade their third baseman or make him a cornerstone of their franchise. Despite the uncertainty, Headley wants to remain a Padre, writes ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.
"My first priority would be to stay in San Diego," Headley said. "I love San Diego, and I've been with a lot of guys in this room for a long time. There are a lot of pieces here, and we're a lot closer [to contending] than people think."
Last May, Padres Executive Chairman Ron Fowler announced the team will make an offer to the 29-year-old, which will be the largest in franchise history. No formal offer has apparently been presented to agent Jim Murray of Excel Sports Management, and Headley acknowledges the time is ripe to settle the issue.
"It's probably prudent for both sides to get a little clarity this offseason versus this dragging on. From the conversations I've had with our ownership and with (GM) Josh (Byrnes) in the past, they honestly want to keep me here. I really believe that. If it doesn't work out, it doesn't mean they didn't try or that we didn't want to be here. Sometimes, things don't work out. But there's still mutual interest, and I expect it will continue in the offseason."
Crasnick notes the dilemma surrounding Headley is whether his future offensive output will be like this year's (.243/.335/.389 with 10 home runs, 40 RBIs, and 2.1 WAR) or will he be able to replicate his success from 2012 (.286/.376/.498 with 31 home runs, a NL-best 115 RBIs, 6.3 WAR, Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards, and a fifth-place finish in the NL MVP voting). Padres manager Bud Black leans towards the latter suggesting injuries are the cause of Headley's 2013 numbers.
"He got derailed with the thumb out of the chute, and, like a lot of players, he probably came back a week too soon," Black said. "So there was a little bit of catch-up there. Then, he got into May and some of the numbers weren't where he thought they should be, and a natural thing occurred: He put pressure on himself to try to validate what he did last year. That always gets you."
Headley concurs admitting he shouldn't be compensated based solely on his 2012 campaign "because I haven't done that consistently every year," but nor should he be punished for this year's struggles. "I also don't think I'm this type of player, either. I don't consider this to be the norm of my career. I think I'm going to come back and play better."
Byrnes, meanwhile, seems to carefully suggest that one factor for the Padres will be an extension candidate's willingness to take a hometown discount. "We really want the contracts to be fair," he says. "But when we're making a multiyear commitment, we also want guys who are excited about being Padres and the challenges we're going to face."
Crasnick opines Headley may not be in the realm of other premier third basemen in the league naming David Wright (eight years, $138MM), Evan Longoria (10 years, $136.6MM), and Ryan Zimmerman (six years, $100MM). Crasnick sees Alex Gordon as a better comparable ($10MM in 2014 and $12.5MM in 2015 with a 2016 option also worth $12.5) because they share similar statistics and agencies. Headley is eligible for arbitration again this offseason where he will undoubtedly receive a raise from his current salary of $8.575MM.
"My first choice would be to stay here," the third baseman said. "I love our coaching staff. I love a lot of the guys here. That said, you have to at least understand where you are positioned in the market. It doesn't benefit myself or the other players to go out and sign a deal just to sign a deal, without it being a good deal.
"I'm not actively trying to get to free agency, but trying to get what you are worth is important. It would be foolish not to at least pay attention. I'm not going to sell myself short."
We've heard conflicting rumors thus far on whether the Padres will try to extend the 29-year-old. A report from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal in May that indicated Headley was likely to be traded by this year's deadline, but CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman wrote just weeks later that the team had no plans to move him. In a confusing series of events, Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler announced at one point to reporters that the team was planning a franchise-record offer to the third baseman. However, the club's ownership apparently never communicated that to Headley, who ultimately told the Padres that he didn't want to discuss his contract during the season.
Based on quotes in Shaikin's article, the Padres' ability to compete in the NL West appears likely to emerge as a factor in negotiations. "At this stage of my career, I want to win," Headley asserted, adding that he believes the Padres will be able to do so. However, the club has yet to make the playoffs during the third baseman's tenure in San Diego. In the interview, Headley speaks admiringly of the Dodgers' 2013 success, telling Shaikin, "You can't help but see what's going on in L.A. and be impressed."
Though Headley hasn't been able to repeat the success of his breakout 2012 season, when he finished fifth in NL MVP voting, agents speaking with Heyman in May suggested that the starting point for an extension would be the six-year, $100MM deal that Ryan Zimmerman signed in 2012. As Shaikin notes, Fowler recently told reporters that the Padres plan to raise payroll by more than 20 percent in 2014. However, if the team decides that it can't play at the $100MM level, Shaikin cites a number of teams that could be interested in Headley, including the Dodgers, Angels, Yankees, Giants, Red Sox, Phillies, and Cardinals.
Headley is scheduled to go through arbitration once more this winter and hit the open market after the 2014 season.
With the clock ticking on the August revocable waiver trade market, here are the latest updates ...
- Outfielder Michael Morse, who is suited up but not in the lineup for the Mariners tonight, is "almost certain" to join the Orioles in the immediate future, writes Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. The O's claimed Morse earlier today, giving the teams two days to work out a deal (or for Seattle to pull Morse back or allow Baltimore to assume his contract without compensation). As Baker explains, Morse no longer appears to be in the team's future plans, leaving little reason for the club to hold onto him. Just over $1MM remains on Morse's $6.75MM salary for this season.
- The Padres pulled back third baseman Chase Headley after he was claimed on waivers, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. While that news is hardly surprising, given that Headley was reportedly placed on waivers back on August 20th, it does confirm that Headley did not clear waivers and will no longer be available this season. Headley, who will be entering his final season of team control, has failed to repeat his strong 2012 season but remains an attractive player going forward. Heyman notes that the Pads are expected to explore a multi-year extension with the 29-year-old over the coming off-season, and estimates that he could command a five-year, $75MM deal.
- The Red Sox could look to pick up a right-handed bullpen piece before Saturday's non-waiver trade deadline, writes Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. Manager John Farrell said that he is not concerned about the pen, but added that "if there's someone out there that makes sense for us to acquire, we might see that." On the other hand, Britton notes, a returning Clay Buchholz will likely allow the club to move righty Ryan Dempster to the bullpen. You may recall that Dempster once served as the Cubs' closer back in 2005-2007.
- While the Orioles have been busy making waiver claims, the Pirates have been the most aggressive team over the course of August, reports Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). Of course, the club recently added Marlon Byrd and John Buck, making further acquisitions seem unlikely. On the other hand, the Bucs are reportedly still interested in first baseman Justin Morneau.
We'll keep tabs on any notable players hitting the revocable waiver wire right here ...
- The Padres have placed third baseman Chase Headley on waivers, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). One of last year's biggest breakout players, Headley has been the subject of repeated trade and extension rumors. He is playing on a $8.575MM contract this year, just under $2MM of which still remains to be paid, and will enter his final year of arbitration eligibility next season. Thus far in 2013, Headley has failed to live up to his big 2012 campaign. After missing time early in the year due to injury, Headley has managed only a .237/.328/.368 line in his 472 plate appearances to date. Nevertheless, the 29-year-old figures to appeal to a variety of clubs, though the Padres would surely require a substantial return to let him go.
For a reminder on how revocable trade waivers and August trades work, check out MLBTR's August trades primer.
The Rockies (57-65) and Padres (54-67) are playing out the string on the 2013 season and already looking ahead to 2014. Here's the latest from these two NL West clubs...
- Rafael Betancourt is set to come off the disabled list and Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link) speculates that the Rockies could put Betancourt on waivers to gauge trade interest in the closer. Colorado and Betancourt have a $4.25MM mutual option for 2014 and through the 38-year-old has two separate stints on the DL this year, he has still pitched effectively. With a younger and cheaper closing option in Rex Brothers, however, the Rockies may want to make a change.
- Dexter Fowler should be made available on the trade market this winter, The Denver Post's Mark Kiszla opines. Fowler is hitting .268/.376/.428 with 12 homers, 67 runs scored and 18 steals in 430 PA, and has spent time on the DL with hand and wrist injuries. As Kiszla notes, the Rockies shopped Fowler last offseason but didn't find any takers after asking for a big return. Fowler signed a two-year, $11.6MM deal with Colorado in February and the 27-year-old still has one final year of arbitration eligibility following the 2014 season.
- Chase Headley's disappointing season has left the Padres with a bit of a conundrum this winter, Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes. Rumors have been rampant over the last year that the Padres would either sign Headley to a long-term extension or trade him, though the Padres would be selling low if the moved Headley now. Center speculates that the Padres might try to lock Headley up to a bargain of an extension and then re-explore the trade market if he returns to form next season.
- Also from Center, he notes as part of his weekly Padres chat that he expects the Padres actively pursue trades this winter. Center sees the Friars offering packages of a young pitcher and a position player, and says the club will certainly pursue corner outfield help. Third base could also be a possibility given Headley's situation.
The Yankees recently called the Padres to ask about third baseman Chase Headley and, in a brief discussion, were told there wasn't a deal to be made, sources told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The Padres are willing to listen on any of their players, but Headley appears to be on the edge of untouchable.
People who have spoken with San Diego have gotten the impression it would take a special prospect to make the Padres even think about trading their star player. In the case of the Yankees, they don't have that kind of prospect to give and they'll probably have to seek out a bat elsewhere
Other teams had been hoping the Padres would consider moving Headley since Jedd Gyorko is a natural third baseman and could slide over without issue. Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reported earlier this week that the Padres would listen on Headley, but it doesn't seem like he'll be changing uniforms this summer.
- The Padres, who are now 42-54, have decided they're sellers, Knobler writes. They will listen to offers for Chase Headley (who is eligible for free agency after next season), but Knobler suggests they're in no rush to deal him. Instead, they could deal Edinson Volquez and/or bullpen arms like Huston Street.
- The Orioles have already traded for Scott Feldman, and they might continue to be active on the trade market, but Knobler suggests their biggest addition might come from the promotion of Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia, who is hitting .367/.406/.467 in his first 15 games at Triple-A Norfolk.
- Knobler confirms that the Cardinals have talked to the Cubs about Matt Garza, and suggests that the two teams' front offices might not find the possibility of trading with one another quite as strange as some fans might. Knobler notes that the last significant deal between the rival squads occurred in 2002, when the Cubs sent Jeff Fassero to St. Louis.
- Elsewhere, Knobler writes that the Marlins may be becoming less inclined to trade Giancarlo Stanton. The Marlins feel that they could improve quickly, and may want to wait to see how Stanton (who is only 23 and is not eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season) and their other top young players perform together. The Marlins will continue to shop relievers and older position players, but youngsters like Jose Fernandez, Jacob Turner and Marcell Ozuna evidently have the Marlins wondering whether they could join Stanton as part of the core of the next good Marlins team.
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.