Trading for Headley won't come cheap but his value has dropped considerably since the offseason.
On Tuesday, the Padres placed third baseman Chase Headley on revocable waivers, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. This is probably not big news. But if he passes through unclaimed, it can certainly be.
General manager Josh Byrnes told Lee "Hacksaw" Hamilton of XTRA Sports 1090 in San Diego that he couldn't comment on the report, which likely indicates that the situation has not come to a conclusion. Headley either hasn't cleared waivers yet, was claimed and pulled back, or the Padres could be in trade talks with the claiming team.
With one year remaining of team control, Headley is likely to be placed on the trade block this upcoming offseason. If the Padres can get a good enough package now, though, Headley could finish the season elsewhere and the front office will have a head start on the offseason.
While Headley's value has dropped considerably since his huge second half of 2012 (.978 OPS, 23 HR, 73 RBI), or just returned to where it had been throughout his career, he's still viewed as a solid third baseman who provides terrific defense and the ability to hit 10-15 homers, 30-35 doubles and steal 10-15 bases per season.
The price tag has likely dropped significantly, but that doesn't mean Headley can be acquired for fringe prospects. It will still take at least one very good prospect to pry the 29-year-old away from San Diego.
Here are two contending teams where Headley could be a fit and two noncontenders who might just try to get a jump on the offseason by acquiring him now.
Boston's need for Headley in 2013 isn't great with Will Middlebrooks heating up (15-for-34 with two homers, three doubles and seven walks in August). But a potential move across the diamond in 2014 for Middlebrooks—he's been working out at first base on occasion since mid-June, according to Evan Drellich of MassLive.com—to take over for free agent Mike Napoli could open up the hot corner for the switch-hitting Headley.
The Sox could act now if the price is right as opposed to waiting until the offseason when more teams are likely to be involved in the bidding. It might also be a good idea with Napoli dealing with a nagging foot injury. Regardless, the Sox might have the most resources to get a deal done. With the season Headley's having, the price would be far lower than it would've been last offseason.
One of their top starting pitching prospects—Anthony Ranaudo (2.77 ERA, 133 IP, 104 H, 44 BB, 121 K between Triple-A and Double-A)—might be enough to get a deal done, although the Padres might not be motivated to trade Headley now unless they can get more. Another up-and-coming prospect, second baseman Mookie Betts (.881 OPS, 13 HR, 30 RBI, 30 2B, 35 SB, 75 BB between High-A and Low-A), would likely be on the Padres' radar.
Red Sox acquire
Chase Headley, 3B
Anthony Ranaudo, RHP (pictured)
Mookie Betts, 2B
The Sox took a chance this past offseason when they signed 32-year-old journeyman Jeff Keppinger to a three-year deal to be their everyday third baseman. Despite a terrific 2012 season with Tampa Bay (.325 BA, 9 HR in 115 games), Keppinger had spent most of his eight-year major league career as a role player.
Given a chance to play every day with Chicago, he's failed miserably (.572 OPS in 99 games). The good news is that his salary of $4 million in 2014 and $4.5 million in 2015 aren't so high that he absolutely has to be penciled into a starting role.
With that in mind, targeting an everyday third baseman like Headley is a possibility. And as bad as the White Sox's farm system has been the last few years, there are a few prospects on the rise that could help bring some major league talent back in a trade.
In the event of a Headley trade, the Padres would likely move Jedd Gyorko to third base. So a close-to-major league ready second baseman like Marcus Semien (.886 OPS, 19 HR, 21 SB, 91 BB between Triple-A and Double-A) would be an intriguing centerpiece to a deal.
In fact, the 22-year-old infielder's stock has risen so much that the Padres probably wouldn't require much more than the White Sox's fourth or fifth best pitching prospect, which could be 21-year-old Myles Jaye (3.96 ERA, 145.1 IP, 151 H, 57 BB, 117 K between High-A and Low-A).
White Sox acquire
Chase Headley, 3B
Marcus Semien, 2B/SS (pictured)
Myles Jaye, SP
With injury-prone Carlos Quentin's future as a major leaguer highly unlikely to continue in the National League, the Padres could look to deal him to the American League this offseason so he can be utilized in the designated hitter role and his knees won't take as much of a beating. In this case, the Padres would have a starting job available in their outfield and the speedy Peter Bourjos could be an ideal fit in Petco Park.
To land the 26-year-old Bourjos, who isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season, the Padres would probably have to trade Headley to the Halos. With so much money tied up in Pujols and Josh Hamilton, the Angels would welcome a proven player on a one-year commitment with a projected salary that isn't outrageous (estimated $10 million in arbitration for 2014).
Because Bourjos has had trouble staying healthy and has been inconsistent as a hitter, the Padres would probably require the Angels to include a pitching prospect with upside in the deal. Reliever Cam Bedrosian, son of former Braves closer Steve Bedrosian, hasn't had a great season (5.30 ERA, 54.1 IP, 55 H, 22 BB, 69 K in 37 Low-A appearances), but he has potential to be an impact setup man or closer down the road.
Chase Headley, 3B
Peter Bourjos, CF (pictured)
Cam Bedrosian, RP
Why would the Padres help the Dodgers in their quest to win a World Series? Only because the offer was too good to pass up.
If the Dodgers want to upgrade at the hot corner by acquiring Headley to replace Juan Uribe, they'll probably have to give up more talent than a nonrival. That talent could include right-hander Zach Lee, their best pitching prospect, and right-hander reliever Chris Withrow, who appears to have found a home in the bullpen (2.45 ERA, 22 IP, 15 H, 7 BB, 27 K) after spending most of his minor league career as a starter.
With Brian Wilson now in the mix, the Dodgers could afford to trade Withrow. Losing Lee could hurt long term but a World Series victory and the deep pockets of ownership to go out and buy more starting pitching down the line make this trade proposal less of a risk.
Chase Headley, 3B
Zach Lee, SP
Chris Withrow, RP (pictured)