"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.