Chase Headley Rumors
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.
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.