The San Diego Padres decided to hold onto third baseman Chase Headley this past off-season in the hopes that he would build upon last season when he led the National League in RBI and hit .286/.376/.498 with 31 home runs and 31 doubles. That didn’t happen as Headley struggled at the plate and with knee problems that he recently underwent surgery to repair. Headley hit just .250/.347/.400 with 13 home runs, 35 doubles and 50 RBI. His run total also went from 95 to 59. To say this season was a disappointment would be an understatement.
Did the Padres miss their window to get optimum value for Headley? Headley is scheduled to become a free agent after the end of the 2014 season and is likely to ask for more than the Padres will be willing to give. Trading him might be the best option for the Padres moving forward. The problem now is finding value for the 29-year-old third baseman.
Any team looking to acquire Headley will look at his career .765 OPS. In 2012, Headley posted an OPS of .875 but his next highest OPS was .773, a mark he set in 2011. The resounding question that needs to be answered is whether or not 2012 was a fluke.
Right now all signs point towards it being the exception to the rule. Headley hit 31 homers but has never hit more than 13 in any other year. Padres GM Josh Byrnes asked for the moon in return for Headley in preliminary trade talks, often ending the conversation before it started. Who can blame him at this point? He, like many others, thought Headley had finally reached his potential. He can’t back down from his asking price too much right now but surely Headley’s price has come down.
Not only does Headley no longer come with that extra year of team control that he did prior to this season but he is coming off a down year and knee surgery. If Byrnes gets anything of real value for him in a trade it would be a minor miracle.
More than likely, the Padres are stuck with Headley and have to hope for a rebound season. Perhaps they can get a decent return for him prior to the trade deadline if a team like the New York Yankees need a third baseman. They can also hope for a turnaround season and build around Headley although that isn’t likely at this point.
If Byrnes really wants to get optimum value in return for Headley he had better start shopping him now. Even if he does find a deal he likes it won’t be as good as it could have been. This might be another missed opportunity for the Padres.