The last two years have held their ups and downs for the San Diego Padres and third baseman Chase Headley. After he delivered a top-5 MVP campaign in 2012, the team’s options seemed to be trying to sign him to a lucrative extension or trading him for a big haul because the Padres could not afford such an extension.
That plan faded right along with Headley’s production in 2013. For a different reason, then, the Padres were not ready to talk extension and would wait to see how Headley did this season. With more struggles in 2014, the Padres are once again left to reconsider what they should do.
Peter Gammons writes about an interesting possibility: Headley’s weak play might actually have made him more likely to be traded:
For nearly a year, the Padres were waiting it out on Headley, figuring they could either sign him or get a draft choice with a qualifying offer this November…Headley is a .237 hitter—albeit in Petco—and now it’s doubtful he’d get a qualifying offer. So with third base an industry-wide weak position, the Pads could see if a team like the Yankees would take a shot and see if they can resurrect his career.
It has been a slow and painful fall from grace, but at this point the Padres are just hoping to make sure they don’t lose their third baseman for nothing. Since it sounds unlikely he would want to sign back in San Diego as a free agent at season’s end, that might mean trading Headley this summer for pennies compared to what they could have gotten for him in the time closer to 2012.