Chase Headley Extended for 1 Year; Will Clayton Richard Be Next?

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Chase Headley Extended for 1 Year;  Will Clayton Richard Be Next?
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According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley has avoided arbitration and has agreed to a one-year deal with the Padres valued at $8.575 million (he was originally seeking $10.3 million, the Padres offered him $7.075 million).

Headley had a career year last season, winning a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Award, finishing fifth in National League MVP voting, hitting a career-best 31 home runs and being named the National League Player of the Month in both August and September.  

Comments from the Padres' GM, via mlb.com:

"The process of arbitration is never that easy, and in this case, it's a good raise," said Padres general manager Josh Byrnes. "We're happy it's done. Chase earned his salary."

And though there was some initial exchange regarding a longer extension, those conversations have now been tabled. 

"We couldn't frame it up where it made sense for both sides," Byrnes said (via mlb.com).

Headley's extension now leaves left-handed pitcher Clayton Richard the only Padre player without a contract for 2013 (Richard is seeking $5.55 million, the team is offering $4.905).  

Richard, was undeniably the best pitcher in the Padres rotation last season.  Not only did he pitch every start, but he also had a 14-14 record with a 3.99 ERA.  

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Though he led the league in hits and home runs allowed, he also proved that he could bounce back from injury and continue to be a durable starter.   

While the Headley extension is a sign of good faith from the Padre front office, the team should still extend him to a longer deal before his price tag becomes unattainable—if it hasn't already.

Unfortunately, if Headley has another breakout season like he did in 2012, the Padres will most likely trade him before the deadline to try and get as much value as they can for him.  

Richard, on the other hand, should also be extended. The 24-year-old lefty is going into his sixth season and has proven that he can pitch deep into games—something the Padres desperately need.

He probably wouldn't be more than a No. 4 pitcher on most competitive teams, but for the price is a durable and affordable starter who will eat innings while the Padres experiment with their platoon starting rotation going into 2013.   

Fingers crossed for 2013...

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