Sunday, May 5, 2013

Should the Padres Extend Chase Headley?

Ron Fowler, part of the Padres ownership group, recently went public and said that the Padres had given Josh Byrnes the OK to offer Chase Headley what would be the biggest contract in team history. This contract would have to exceed the 52 million dollar deal that was given to Jake Peavy in December of 2007. Headley then said that he hadn't heard anything about this and he said he will not negotiate in-season due to the distraction it might cause. This brings up two questions, should we extend Chase Headley and how much would we pay him?

Sign or Trade Headley?
Chase Headley has spent the last four seasons in the majors developing, playing excellent defense and providing limited offensive value, his main flaw having been a lack of power. He drew walks and stole some bases, but then, after the 2012 trade deadline, Chase Headley went on a home run spree. He finished the year at .286 with 31 home runs and a league leading 115 runs batted in. He quickly became the face of a franchise that has lost talented players such as Adrian Gonzalez, Mat Latos, and Jake Peavy. He is the type of homegrown talent that is rarely locked up in San Diego. The Padres fan base is used to losing this talent, and they tend to blame it on the fiscal owners. For a new ownership group, one that didn't make any big moves in the offseason, an extension of Headley could be one of the biggest PR moves the team could make. What happens to Chase Headley will be what the fans associate the owners with.

Headley will be a free agent after the 2014 season. He will make about 8.5 million dollars this season, and probably require a lot of money to lock up beyond this year. They have the money that they didn't spend this offseason. The one problem, is that Chase Headley doesn't want to discuss an extension during the season. We also must consider what he potentially would command in a trade. A trade comparison would be the Mat Latos trade, but there aren't many fits who make sense. The Yankees and Dodgers figure to have interest, but guys like Mason Williams or Joc Pederson won't be enough to be the centerpiece of a package. Headley is off to a good start, hitting .290 with 3 home runs (on pace for about 30 through 162 games) and 2 stolen bases, through sixteen games. He started the year on the DL (thumb) but made a quick recovery. If he can continue his hot start, his trade value will skyrocket, and he will be the subject of countless rumors. The Padres, who have won eight of their last eleven, are now only five games under .500 and in 19 games will get catcher Yasmani Grandal back into the offense. If Cory Luebke can get back onto the mound soon, the Padres might not be selling come this deadline, crazier things have happened. 

Overall, it would probably be the best move the Padres could make to drive fans into the ballpark. The lack of quality trade partners is just one more reason why it would be smart to hang on to him. 

How much would it cost?
The parameters given to us by Mr. Fowler are:
  • The deal would be the biggest in franchise history, therefore exceeding 52 million dollars.
  • The deal would be less than ten years.
If we assume the deal is 6 years, a fair number for each side, we can say the lowest possible AAV (Average Annual Value) would be 8.67 million dollars, or a 12k raise for Headley annually. Headley has provided immense value, but we forget that if he were to hit the open market, he would be on the wrong side of thirty. Chase Headley has said he doesn't like playing and not knowing his future. Headley has also said he is very happy in San Diego. A deal like this would probably work for both sides:

14: 13 million
15: 15 million
16: 15 million
17: 15 million
18: 15 million
19: 15 million CLUB OPTION with 3 million dollar buyout
20: 15 million CLUB OPTION with 3 million dollar buyout

The deal is a guaranteed 76 million dollars with potential to reach the 100 million dollar mark. This can make Chase Headley a wealthy man and allow the Padres to keep some flexibility.

Would you trade Chase Headley? Is this a realistic contract?

1 comment:

  1. I think the Padres trade him. It sounds like he wants out and I can't see the Padres extending him to such a large deal. That leaves Darnell as a fringe guy and Rincon a bit further away as the in-house 3B candidates or am I missing someone?