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MLB San Diego Padres

San Diego Padres Must Find a Trade Partner For Chase Headley

Chase Headley San Diego Padres

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley had an outstanding 2012 season. He finished the year with a .286 batting average, with 31 home runs and 115 RBIs while playing very good defense at the hot corner. Even though Headley had a late start to the 2013 season due to a thumb injury, he has continued his great play in 2013, hitting .294 with 4 home runs and 12 RBIs in only 85 at-bats.

Headley is well on his way to another very successful season. With the fantastic production that he has put up the past two years, he will certainly be a hot name if the Padres do decide to put him on the trading block.

Just about every team in Major League Baseball would be interested in acquiring Headley. Teams that make the most sense to me are the Kansas City Royals, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Oakland Athletics

You may be asking, if Headley is so great, why would the Padres want to trade him?

The main reason I think they must trade him is his contract situation. Headley has yet to engage in extension talks with the Padres, even though they have made it clear they would like to lock him up long-term.

It seems like Headley may want to make a run at free agency when his current deal is up after the 2014 season. If he continues to produce the way he is, teams will pay him a ton of money — probably more than San Diego is willing to pay.

If this happens, they will lose their best player for essentially nothing. The trading deadline this season will be the best time for the Padres to sell off their star because the team trading for him will have over a year to try and work out an extension with Headley.

The Padres will probably not be competing for the National League West title for the next couple of seasons, but they do have a nice assortment of young talent in both the majors and minors. If they can use Headley to add a few more pieces to that core, I think they should play it safe and pull the trigger.

If they decide not to trade him, they might be playing with fire.

Dan is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @D_Schmelzer and add him to your network on Goggle.