Chase Headley Rumors
Many players will avoid arbitration today, and dozens of others exchanged figures with their teams in anticipation of hearings. Most cases won't go to arbitration hearings, but teams such as the Rays, Marlins, Blue Jays and Braves are known for their 'file and trial' policies. For players on those teams this marks the last chance at negotiations before a hearing.
MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker will keep you up to date on every one of the filing numbers from around the game, but here are the highlights -- players who filed for $4MM or more. Now for the details...
- Clayton Richard filed for $5.55MM while the Padres offered $4.905MM, according to CBSSports.com.
- Martin Prado filed for $7.05MM while the Braves countered with $6.65MM, Heyman reports (on Twitter).
- Sergio Romo filed for $4.5MM and the Giants countered at $2.675MM, Heyman reports (on Twitter).
- Max Scherzer filed at $7.4MM and the Tigers offered $6.05MM, Heyman reports (on Twitter).
- Jason Hammel filed at $8.25MM and the Orioles offered $5.7MM, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports (on Twitter). Jim Johnson filed at $7.1MM and the Orioles countered at $5.7MM.
- Homer Bailey filed at $5.8MM and the Reds filed at $4.75MM, Heyman tweets.
- Jordan Zimmermann filed at $5.8MM and the Nationals offered $4.6MM, Heyman tweets.
- Dexter Fowler filed at $5.15MM with the Rockies offering $4.25MM, Heyman tweets
- Shin-Soo Choo filed at $8MM and the Reds offered $6.75MM, Heyman tweets.
- Chase Headley filed for $10.3MM with the Padres countering at $7.075MM, Heyman tweets.
- Mat Latos asked for $4.7MM and the Reds offered $4.15MM, Heyman tweets.
- Jason Motte filed at $5.5MM and the Cardinals offered $4.5MM, Heyman tweets.
- David Murphy filed at $6.5MM and the Rangers offered $5.05MM, Heyman tweets.
The Orioles showed serious interest in Justin Upton before talks with the Diamondbacks sputtered, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported last night. Here are some more of Rosenthal’s notes from around MLB...
- Rosenthal hears from one executive who expects the Padres to make another significant move. However, the Padres like their group of young starting pitchers and aren’t inclined to make a strong play for one of the remaining free agent starters. San Diego could still trade for a pitcher such as Rick Porcello, Luke Hochevar or Aaron Harang.
- Talks about a deal involving Upton and Chase Headley didn’t progress, Rosenthal reports.
- The Orioles continue seeking starting pitching and Joe Saunders remains a target. The Orioles also checked in on Porcello, according to Rosenthal.
- Though the Orioles spoke with Lance Berkman before he signed with the Rangers, they weren’t interested in spending big for the switch-hitting DH.
- Jeff Karstens, Derek Lowe, Aaron Cook and Jair Jurrjens are among the possibilities the Rockies are considering. The Rockies wouldn’t offer all of those pitchers Major League deals, however.
- Rosenthal suggests free agent reliever Rafael Soriano could be a longshot for the Rockies. Colorado would have to surrender its second round draft pick to sign the Scott Boras client.
- The Phillies continue seeking a right-handed hitting outfielder, Rosenthal reports. They’re still considering free agent Scott Hairston and trade candidates Alfonso Soriano and Vernon Wells. It’s possible the Phillies will go with platoons in both corner outfield positions.
Over the next few weeks, I will be discussing some of the higher profile upcoming arbitration cases. I will rely partly on my arbitration model developed exclusively for MLB Trade Rumors (read more about it here), but will also break out some interesting comparables and determine where the model might be wrong.
Chase Headley will go to arbitration for the third time after having a career year. He had never hit more than 12 home runs or knocked in more than 64 runs, but this past season, he hit 31 home runs and led the National League with 115 RBIs. The Excel Sports Management client also tied a career high with 17 stolen bases, and hit .286. He also had 694 plate appearances (a very important factor in arbitration cases). As a result of a largely average history with the bat, Headley only made $3.475MM in 2012, but the model has him projected to earn $8.3MM next year, a $4.825MM raise. However, Headley is a unique case because he has so few comparables. It's not every year that a player bursts onto the scene and leads the league in RBIs as a third time arbitration eligible player. When we look through the comparables, you can see that there is reason to take the under on this projection, though it is certainly in the right neighborhood.
The ideal comparable for Headley would be a third baseman in his third year of arbitration eligibility who had 30 HR and 100 RBI. My database looks at the last six years and sees that no such player exists. In many situations, third basemen can be compared to first basemen and outfielders (and in rarer situations middle infielders). Even that expansion gives us players who had multiyear deals, which are rarely used for comparison in arbitration cases, and those hitters are not very good comparables either. However, if we loosen the home runs and RBI criteria, we do find a few guys who could come up in Headley’s case, though he has a better case than all of them.
If we restrict ourselves only to players who had 20 HR and 80 RBI going into their third year of eligibility, and who did not get multiyear deals, we see seven players in the last six years. All of these players are first basemen or outfielders, but they are better comparisons than any third basemen.
The largest raise of the group went to Prince Fielder, who got a $4MM raise in 2011. He had only 20 more plate appearances than Headley did last year (714 vs. 694) and one more home run (32 vs. 31). However, his .261 average falls short of Headley’s .286, his 83 RBIs are dwarfed by Headley’s 115, and he only stole one base to Headley’s 17. Since pre-platform year performance has little effect on arbitration cases after the first year of eligibility, Headley would seem to have a better case than Fielder.
However, Fielder’s season was actually bested by Mark Teixeira, who only got a $3.5MM raise in 2008. Since his case is five years old now, it is not a great comparison, but with a .306 average, 30 home runs, and 105 RBI, Teixeira nearly matched Headley in power numbers, while having a better average. However, Teixeira only got 575 plate appearances and stole no bases. The Padres could try to argue that Headley should be comparable to Teixeira, but the fact that the contract is “stale” and Teixeira's relatively low plate appearance total probably suggests Headley can do better.
Hunter Pence got a $3.5MM raise last year after hitting .314 with 22 home runs and 97 RBIs, while swiping eight bases. Pence also had 668 plate appearances, which makes him a good comparable for Headley. Although Headley’s power numbers were better, his batting average was worse, so the Padres could argue that Pence’s raise might be applicable.
Xavier Nady in 2009 was similar to Headley in that he suddenly had the best year of his career as a third-year arbitration eligible hitter. He was only making $3.35MM in 2008 (similar to Headley’s $3.475MM in 2012), and then hit .305 with 25 home runs and 97 RBIs. He only got 607 plate appearances and stole only two bases, so overall his numbers are a little worse than Headley’s, but his $3.2MM raise could be seen as a floor for Headley if Fielder’s case is not seen as comparable, since the Padres could try to argue that Headley’s career trajectory best matches Nady’s.
An alternative might be B.J. Upton, who had a .243 average with 23 home runs and 81 RBIs, but stole 36 bases while racking up 640 plate appearances going into last year’s cases. He only got a $2.175MM raise. However, his clearly inferior numbers other than stolen bases and the fact that he is a center fielder make him a weak comparable.
The other two players to meet the criteria specified above were Adam LaRoche in 2009, who was coming off a .270/25/85 season, and Austin Kearns in 2007, who was coming off a .264/24/86 season. Since both are clearly inferior cases to Headley’s and older, their $2.15MM and $1.65MM raises probably won’t be seen as useful in Headley’s case.
If we instead decide to consider multiyear deals as comparable, it is notable that Matt Kemp’s deal gave him a $5.05MM raise last year after hitting .324 with 39 home runs, 126 RBIs, and 40 stolen bases. The fact that he got a multiyear deal with a substantially higher average annual value than his 2012 salary makes this difficult to use, but it does give us some sense that a $5MM raise would be pushing it.
The best comparable among these for Headley is probably Fielder, though you could make a compelling case for Teixeira. If Fielder’s $4MM raise is seen as a floor, and Headley gets a few extra bucks for his average, RBIs, and steals, then Headley could be given something like a $4.25-4.5MM raise, which would put him at $7.725-$7.975. This is below the model’s $8.3MM projection, but it might be more reflective of a good estimate in this unique case.
11:37pm: The Padres and D'Backs found no match in trade talks about Upton or Jason Kubel, reports Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com (on Twitter). San Diego doesn't want to move Headley and they don't have a spot for Kubel with Carlos Quentin on the roster.
3:27pm: The Padres and Diamondbacks have had on-and-off discussions about a deal involving Justin Upton and Chase Headley since July, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. However, those talks have yet to result in a deal.
Even though that deal hasn't worked out, the Diamondbacks continue to discuss Upton with other clubs, including the Rangers and Mariners while also considering offers for Jason Kubel. The Rangers want to build a package around third baseman Mike Olt rather than shortstop Elvis Andrus or infielder Jurickson Profar and they're willing to add a top pitching prospect and a third quality piece to the package, sources say.
However, sources tell Rosenthal that the D'Backs believe they could make an even better deal for Upton with another club like the Mariners, who are aggressively trying to add a power hitter. However, as we've heard before, Seattle is on Upton's four-team no-trade list and he's not inclined to approve a deal to the M's. The Mariners might be able to change Upton's mind with a lucrative contract extension.
Earlier this week we learned that the Braves have also inquired on Upton.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
Rob Manfred, MLB’s executive VP of labor relations, told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he’s not ready to say baseball’s collective bargaining agreement needs changes. While the CBA appears to have limited the market for certain players who declined qualifying offers, Manfred says it’s still early. “I’m not inclined to get into a discussion about changing an agreement when it hasn’t even operated for a full year.” As Rosenthal points out, draft pick compensation places an artificial burden on free agents. Here are some more links from around MLB...
- The Rangers aren’t a perfect fit for Justin Upton, because their lineup already includes many right-handed hitters, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney notes (Twitter links). The Braves could be a better fit, and could deal from a surplus of pitching. Olney reported yesterday that the Diamondbacks are open to dealing the right fielder.
- The Pirates haven’t announced their two-year, $12.75MM agreement with Francisco Liriano, but MLB.com’s Tom Singer still expects the deal to go through (Twitter link). The Pirates have been trying to get the left-hander to Pittsburgh for a physical.
- The Orioles have not watched free agent right-hander Javier Vazquez work out and they have no current plans to attend any of his scheduled sessions, Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports (on Twitter). That said, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun suggested today that the Orioles could have some interest (Twitter link).
- Within an in-depth piece about third baseman Chase Headley, Padres GM Josh Byrnes revealed to MLB.com's Corey Brock that he pushed for the Red Sox to draft Headley back in 2005 when he was in the Boston front office. Headley, 28, is arbitration eligible for the third time this offseason.
Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune is back with his regular chat with fans about the Padres, and here are some of the relevant hot stove items...
- The Padres have been talking to right-hander Brett Myers, according to Myers' agent. San Diego would use Myers as a starting pitcher, which is Myers' preferred role after spending 2012 coming out of the bullpen for the Astros and White Sox.
- The Tigers are reconsidering trading Rick Porcello, who has drawn attention from the Padres and several other clubs since Detroit re-signed Anibal Sanchez. If Porcello is available, Center feels it would take more than a rumored trade package of Luke Gregerson and Jesus Guzman for the Padres to acquire the right-hander.
- It's a "gamble on both sides" for Chase Headley and the Padres that there are apparently no extension talks taking place between the club and the third baseman. Headley is under team control for two more years, but a repeat of his 2012 numbers could make him too expensive for the Padres to lock up.
- Everth Cabrera has drawn trade interest but most clubs (including the Padres) aren't sure if he is capable of being an everyday shortstop. Center notes that San Diego has been shopping "several" of its middle infielders this winter.
- The Padres are "actively seeking" starting pitching but aren't going to be forced into making a bad signing just for the sake of adding an arm to the rotation.
- Between Porcello, Shaun Marcum and Joe Saunders, Center lists Marcum as the most likely of the trio to be a Padre in 2013, followed by Saunders and Porcello in that order.
- The Padres won't be adding another outfielder as they already have several options on the roster.
- Center doesn't expect the Padres to have a $100MM payroll within the next few years, even adding an "if ever" to the idea.
- The Padres want to bring back Dustin Moseley and Tim Stauffer on minor league contracts. The two pitchers elected to become free agents in October following injury-plagued 2012 seasons.
- Center hasn't heard of the Padres having any interest in Carlos Zambrano.
Don't expect the Padres to sign Chase Headley to a long-term contract extension this offseason, says Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Rosenthal notes that Headley, who finished fifth in NL MVP voting, has "all the leverage" at this point, making the timing less than ideal for the Padres.
The Padres continue to insist there's no chance Headley will be dealt, so it seems that an extension is at least more likely than a trade. Scott Miller of CBSSports.com reported earlier in the week that the two sides had engaged in "very rough" extension talks, but that there wasn't a whole lot of urgency since Headley is still a couple years from free agency. GM Josh Byrnes indicated that the team would continue to explore the subject this winter in hopes of working something out in the spring.
As Day Two of the Winter Meetings rapidly approaches, here are some miscellaneous links to get all of you insomniacs out there through the night...
- The Athletics had a fair amount of talks with the Marlins about Yunel Escobar yesterday but will be meeting on Stephen Drew today, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington didn't sound very open to the idea of Gerrit Cole breaking camp with a spot in the Major League rotation when he talked to reporters (including MLB.com's Tom Singer) yesterday. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft reached Triple-A for one start last year.
- The Mets consider Bobby Parnell to be "virtually untouchable" right now, according to ESPN's Adam Rubin. The Tigers tried to acquire Parnell last season but were rejected, according to Rubin. That could explain the report shortly after last year's Winter Meetings that the Mets had considered dealing the flamethrower to an unknown team.
- The Padres had "very rough" extension talks with Chase Headley earlier this year and would like to keep him long-term, writes Scott Miller of CBS Sports. There's no great urgency since he's controlled for two more seasons, GM Josh Byrnes said Monday, but they'll continue talking over the winter and could work something out in the spring.
- Danny Espinosa isn't bothered by trade talks speculating that the Nationals could deal him to the Rays, writes MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Such a trade would reunite Espinosa with his college teammate, Evan Longoria.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos will be focused on smaller moves to add depth at the Winter Meetings as the team's payroll is "in the dust, the rear-view mirror" of where he thought it was going to be for 2013 (Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reporting). Toronto opened 2012 with an $83.7MM payroll but projects to be in the $120MM range for 2013 as things stand right now.
After taking a quick look at the latest notes out of the AL Central, we'll do the same with the AL East:
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Yankees continue to be in on Scott Hairston, but it will likely take a two-year deal to lock him up, and New York would rather avoid adding 2014 salary.
- Sherman adds in a separate tweet that a Padres official insists the team isn't moving Chase Headley, so he's unlikely to be an option for the Yankees.
- Nick Swisher is drawing interest from a number of teams, including the Red Sox, but he may exercise some patience before agreeing to a deal, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Bradford hears from a source that Swisher may wait to sign until after Josh Hamilton has secured a deal. The WEEI.com scribe also reiterates that Boston's signing of Mike Napoli hasn't taken them out of the running for Swisher, as we heard earlier today.
- Discussing Alex Rodriguez's hip surgery at an afternoon press conference, Yankees GM Brian Cashman indicated that the team will "become very aggressive" if they see an opportunity to upgrade at third base that makes sense (Twitter link via MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith).
- In his latest column for FOX Sports, Jon Morosi explains why he thinks the Yankees should pursue Chase Headley, and explores what sort of return the Padres could expect for their star third baseman.
- According to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, Orioles GM Dan Duquette said on MLB Network Radio today that the club's decision to non-tender Mark Reynolds was made in part because the O's believed Reynolds could be in line for a salary of $12-14MM through arbitration. MLBTR was projecting a salary in the neighborhood of $8.9MM for Reynolds before he was non-tendered.
The most fun week of baseball's offseason is here, as 2012's Winter Meetings get underway in Nashville. With a ton of activity expected over the next few days, we don't want to let anything fall through the cracks, so let's round up a few Monday morning updates from around MLB:
- 18-year-old Japanese pitcher Shohei Otani, who announced in October that he intended to sign with an MLB team, may now be leaning toward staying in Japan, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link), who cites reports out of Japan. A decision from Otani is expected this week, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
- If the Braves make a move this week, it's more likely to be a trade than a signing, says Mark Bowman of MLB.com, who tweets that Atlanta has "minimal interest" in the outfielders on the free agent market. The team's interest in free agents could increase if asking prices drop, but that's not likely to happen this early in the offseason, tweets Bowman. David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has more details on the Braves' search for a left fielder.
- The Rays' agreement with James Loney makes them an unlikely fit for Eric Hosmer or Billy Butler now, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. If the Royals were to pursue a Rays pitcher via trade, Kansas City may have to offer Wil Myers, Dutton adds.
- Given the weak third base market, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports thinks the Padres may be motivated to sell high on Chase Headley and send him to the Yankees (Twitter link).
- Coming off an injury-shortened 2012 season, Chien-Ming Wang may not sign with an MLB team until midseason, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com (Twitter link).
- John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer thinks the Reds will make a run at Dexter Fowler, but doesn't expect the team to give up Homer Bailey to make it happen.
- The Dodgers may have a tricky time targeting an outfielder, since they need a starting-caliber player but can't promise a starting job, writes Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times.
- If the Indians decide to go all-in on their rebuild, they could extract young pitching talent from a team like the Mariners or Diamondbacks, says ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Insider link). Cleveland's asking price for Asdrubal Cabrera is "steep in terms of young pitchers," according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- In an Insider-only story for ESPN.com, Jim Bowden has identified a trade candidate for all 30 MLB teams, along with potential suitors for each player.
- After a quiet Winter Meetings in 2011, the Red Sox figure to be more active this year, writes Tim Britton of the Providence Journal, as he explores a few of the team's potential targets.