Molly Knight of ESPN recently revealed that the Dodgers were “looking into” Padres third baseman Chase Headley.
In a surprising change from the rest of the players the Dodgers are interested in, this one actually makes sense, especially considering that Headley would basically be replacing Juan Uribe.
Chase Headley was a top prospect in the Padres system, ranking at #32 in the majors going into 2008 according to Baseball America after putting up a .330/.437/.580/1.016 line at AA. He followed that year up with a .305/.383/.556/.939 AAA line in 2008 and was called up to the majors for good.
Unfortunately, Headley’s OPS in the majors had been regressing from 2008-2010 (.757/.734/.702), making his big league career relatively disappointing. In 2011 though, he seemed to make things work, posting a .289/.374/.399/.773 line. However, even that had a drawback, as his best season was sidetracked by a fractured finger in August and he only made it back in time to play six September games. Furthermore, his BA and OBP spike can be partially traced to a career high BABIP (.368).
Perhaps most interesting though are his career home/road splits:
I’m not saying that leaving Petco Park for Dodger Stadium will make him into a star, but I do think that he has the ability to at least repeat his 2011 line and maybe add a little bit more if he’s in basically any other stadium.
Given that Headley has played average to elite defense at third base throughout his career, a 3-4 WAR player isn’t farfetched, and he has two years of team control left, so there’s plenty reason to be showing interest.
MLB Trade Rumors has projected his arbitration salary at $3 million, which likely means he’s due to be a bargain in 2012 and 2013.
Even as just a 3 WAR player, you’re looking at a two year value of around $30 million, so even if you assume a $7 million salary in 2013, he’s a $20 million asset by my estimation.
If the Dodgers are giving up prospects, than they should be prepared to surrender a combination of prospects that total about 15-25 million dollars in value. If the Dodgers are giving up players, I’m not sure what would meet the requirements, because I assume the Padres would want to rebuild and not take on salary.
As with any deal, the sense of it depends on what you’re giving up as much as what you’re getting, but just on the surface, Chase Headley is certainly worth the interest. If the Dodgers can give up a reasonable package for him, they should absolutely do so.