A year or two ago, Chase Headley would have fetched a king’s ransom in a trade. That was not the case on Tuesday.
The Yankees will also receive $1 million in cash considerations from the Pads. They will ship third baseman Yangervis Solarte and Single-A pitching prospect Rafael De Paula out to California in return.
Upon learning of the trade, Headley thanked the Pads while expressing his excitement at joining the Yankees:
Headley is playing well below his capabilities in 2014, batting .229 with seven home runs and 32 RBI. He has only walked 22 times and has an on-base percentage under .300 and an OPS of just .651.
On a positive note, Headley has been hitting well of late. He has a .323 average for the month of July, belting four doubles, one home run and nine RBI. Back issues bothered Headley throughout the season, but he is now healthy and appears to be turning his season around. He will be a free agent after the season.
Moving to Yankee Stadium alone should help Headley boost his stats. Petco Park is a notorious pitcher’s park, whereas the Bronx offers the switch-hitting Headley a short right field porch.
Even if he does not hit, Headley will improve the team’s defense, as he is one of the best third basemen in the league. He ranks second in defensive WAR among members of the hot corner and is third in defensive runs saved. He won a Gold Glove in 2012.
Headley had his best year that season, when he batted .286 with 31 doubles, 31 home runs and 115 RBI. He won a Silver Slugger and finished fifth in the MVP voting.
As important as Headley could be, it should also be noted that the Yankees did not part with any major pieces.
Solarte was good at times this season and terrible at others. He hit .254 with six homers and 31 RBI. He was demoted at one point. Meanwhile, De Paula is no one to lose sleep over. The 23-year-old is 6-5 with a 4.15 ERA in 20 games for the Single-A Tampa Yankees.
There was once a time when Headley would have commanded a team’s top prospects, but the Yankees got this deal done without including any such players. Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, Rob Refsnyder, Peter O’Brien and others will remain with the organization, while the Yankees have brought in someone whom they think could be a big-time addition to their team.
The Bombers’ farm system has been particularly weak these past few years, so it is nice to see New York making a concerted effort to hang on to its better young players when star players are not being offered in return.
The Yankees are hopeful Headley can be a fraction of the hitter he once was, but if not, then they didn't give up much to bring him in. It is a low-risk, high-reward situation for New York.
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