MLB Trade Rumors: Chase Headley's Trade Value

Michael ClineCorrespondent IJuly 19, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 15:  Chase Headley #7 of the San Diego Padres hits a homerun in the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on July 15, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

One of the Padres' hottest hitters Chase Headley is also one of the top corner infielders set to be dealt at the end of this month.

Headley has tremendous upside and would bring a consistent bat to the middle of any playoff team's lineup.

And unlike Kevin Youkilis, Chase's contract is not a heavy burden for the team's payroll. This allows small-market teams the chance at acquiring a gem at third base for a lower cost than many other trade candidates. And with the Brewers acting hesitant to deal Aramis Ramirez, Headley's value increases.

What makes Headley the perfect trade candidate? For one, Chase is only in his mid-20s. Milwaukee third baseman Aramis Ramirez is 34 years old; Kevin Youkilis, who was already traded to Chicago earlier, is a year younger. Headley is also a switch-hitter, and a consistent batter in a brutal Petco Park. If moved to a kinder hitter's park, Headley could become a star at the plate.

Despite being snubbed from the All-Star game, Headley is still garnering attention from two NL West rivals—Arizona and Los Angeles. Small-market teams like the Pirates and Orioles are also pursuing the 28-year-old third baseman. And with Jedd Gyorko, the Padres' top third baseman prospect ready to take over in San Diego, trading Headley for solid prospects can help this young San Diego team rise in the coming years.

Headley is arbitration-eligible at the end of the next two seasons after making $3.475 million in 2012.

Moving Headley for young talent will help this team move in the right direction during its rebuilding years.

However, the Padres should not pull the trigger on just any deal, because moving Headley is not a necessity. If the right deal is never presented, San Diego should hold on to Chase.

Headley is hitting .268 with 10 HR and 46 RBI. Chase has also walked 51 times and has an on-base percentage of .366.