David Wright could be out for the rest of the World Baseball Classic with sore ribs, and Team USA officials already have the perfect replacement and another great young third baseman on their radar in Chase Headley of the San Diego Padres.
Speaking to Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune, Headley did indeed say that he has been contacted about joining the team should they advance to the finals by defeating Puerto Rico tonight.
“Team USA reached out to see if I was interested,” said Headley. “I am. It’s always been a dream of mine to play for Team USA. Obviously, I hate to see someone get hurt.”
No matter how you look at it, Wright's skills and leadership make him a huge loss for both Team USA and his New York Mets. Prior to his injury, he was batting .438 and leading the United States with one home run and 10 RBI.
Playing for the Mets in 2012, he hit .306 with 21 home runs and 93 RBI, plus 15 steals while also representing the National League at the All-Star Game. In every way, shape and form, losing him would be a terrible blow to Team USA's WBC championship aspirations.
Unless, of course, Headley replaces him on the roster.
Not only is Headley two years younger than Wright, at 28 years old, but he also gives Team USA a fourth switch-hitter in addition to Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Ben Zobrist.
He hasn't yet shown as keen an ability to hit for average as well as Wright does, but just take a look at his numbers from spring training this season.
Through 10 Grapefruit League games, Headley is hitting .440 with three RBI and two extra-base hits. The power he showcased last season has yet to make an appearance, but that is another reason why Team USA should bring him aboard should they advance to the next round.
Hitting for power is one thing that Headley does just as well as Wright, if not better. Last season, he hit .286 with a career-best 31 home runs, 115 RBI and .376 OBP. 13 of those long balls came in pitcher-friendly Petco Park, so it's clear just how powerful Headley's swing is.
That all being said, there is really no reason why Headley should not replace Wright on Team USA's roster should the United States defeat Puerto Rico tonight.
Wright was the heart and soul of the team's offense, and bringing in Headley to take over is a far better move than rolling the dice with utility infielder Willie Bloomquist or moving Ryan Braun to the hot corner—where he has not played since committing 26 errors there during his rookie season in 2007.
The fact of the matter is that Headley is one of the best young third basemen in MLB right now and if Team USA makes the next round, bringing him aboard would be the best move in order to ensure a potential WBC championship.
If anyone's going to replace David Wright, there really isn't anyone better than him.
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