MLB Rumors: Why The Oakland A's Need to Go After Chase Headley Instead of Hanley Ramirez

By Bryan Lutz

There’s only one week left until the 2012 MLB Trade Deadline comes and goes – and until that day – we will still hear plenty of MLB Rumors regarding some of baseball’s biggest stars. The Oakland A’s – who are normally a seller at the deadline – are looking to buy this season, most notably Chase Headley or Hanley Ramirez. And until either of those guys are traded, MLB Rumors won’t stop spreading about the two.

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It’s great knowing Billy Beane is actually in the buyer’s market, a market that he is in about every time Halley’s Comet comes around it seems. The A’s (51-44) are in the midst of a 14-2 July, giving them a half game lead over the Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles for the fifth spot in the American League wild card and they are only one game behind the Los Angeles Angels for the four spot.

No one really gave the A’s a chance coming into the season, seeing as they traded two main cogs of their rotation last season this winter in Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez. But as Billy Beane seems to do at a nearly flawless rate, two of the players he acquired in those deals – Jarrod Parker and Tommy Milone – have filled in beautifully, giving the A’s one of the better pitching staffs in the American League.

Similar to most A’s teams, they are getting good production at a lot of positions, with Josh Reddick leading the charge with a 4.1 fWAR. But the two positions the A’s have had trouble filling is third base and shortstop. Brandon Inge was a DFA claim that has paid dividends defensively for the A’s, but his bat leaves something to be desired at third base. In regards to shortstop, Cliff Pennington just can’t hit. For years, I – and many others – have waited for Pennington to break out, but he never has. So it comes as no surprise that Billy Beane is looking for help, hence the Headley and Ramirez rumors.

Odds are the A’s can only afford one of the two players, unless Oakland actually opens their pockets for once. Hanley Ramirez would cost the least in terms of players, given that he is due $31.5 million over the course of the next two seasons. But I think the A’s and Chase Headley are a match made in heaven.

When I watched Moneyball recently, a scene that struck near and dear to me was the scene where Beane acquires Ricardo Rincon. Granted, it’s a movie and I’m sure the dialogue was mostly for effect rather than what actually happened, but the point stands. Beane acquired Rincon for his production that season and his trade value in later seasons. Chase Headley gives Beane exactly that in 2012. Headley – who is under team control for a couple more seasons – has a slash-line of .265/.360/.422/.782 in San Diego, which is the equivalent of that nerdy guy getting with Alice Eve in She’s Out of My League. Petco Park is supposed to swallow your offensive game whole.

Headley can hit, field, get on base, and gives Beane a valuable trade chip that he can flip at a later date. Sure, it will cost more players than Hanley, but Headley’s long-term value smokes Hanley’s.

If Billy Beane and the A’s want to make a legitimate run at the playoffs this season, they should enter the Chase.

Bryan is a featured writer for Rant Sports. Although he concentrates mostly on the game of baseball, you can find him covering things all over the Rant Sports Network.

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