The San Diego Padres didn’t have a great 2012 season. What they did find was the key to a possibly great future. It can be very difficult to find bright spots in a campaign that saw the Padres closer as the lone All-Star. However, they did find their bright spots. While things are far from promising as far as a playoff hunt is concerned, the team is heading in the right direction and leading the way is third baseman Chase Headly.
Headly, whose previous high in homeruns was only 12 back in 2009, had a breakout year by anyone’s standard. His 31 homers were a huge step forward and the 115 runs he drove home led the National League. For a player who wasn’t thought extremely highly of, other than by those who saw his potential when they signed him, Headly finishing fifth in MVP voting, winning the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards is a standout performance. It can be so much more than that, however.
Good teams have solid player to build a team around. In today’s game there are players that come and go. It just happens. But a team that wants to compete year in and year out need a core of good reliable players to carry the load. These are the players whose picture shows up on TV when their team is playing the nationally televised games. Last year the Padres found that man in Headly. What they should do is hang on to him tight. Also tie to him the very exciting shortstop Everth Cabrera. Get those two boys some help on the other side of the diamond and a few reliable steady pitchers and you have a winning nucleolus of players.
I wouldn’t look for the Padres to win it all in 2013 by a long shot. What they can do and should do is build their team for the next few years around Headly. Let him be the captain and leader in the clubhouse and on the field. It will draw the best from him which will draw the best from his teammates. From that base a winning franchise can be built. Who knows for sure what they will do with him, but Chase Headly gives the Padres all they need in a foundational franchise player.