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MLB Detroit Tigers

5 Reasons The Detroit Tigers Were Smart To Pass On Chase Headley

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Chase Headley Would Have Been Too Risky for the Tigers

Headley Rounds the Bases
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

After Prince Fielder was traded to the Texas Rangers on Nov. 20 and it became evident that Miguel Cabrera would be moving back across the diamond, the Detroit Tigers were left with two big needs: a new third baseman and an extra left-handed bat. At first glance, it appeared that the Tigers might be able to kill two birds with one stone by trading for San Diego Padres switch-hitting third baseman Chase Headley. Furthermore, the fact that Headley already knows Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, as Ausmus worked for the Padres' organization over the past three seasons, made the prospect of Headley becoming a Tiger seem even more fitting. Wally Joyner, the Tigers' new hitting coach, is also familiar with Headley, as he was the Padres' hitting coach back when Headley was merely a rookie.

Moreover, Headley can also play the outfield, and he could have potentially played left field for the Tigers in 2014 in the event that the Tigers do go on to decide in Spring Training that Nick Castellanos is ready to take over at the hot corner. However, with the Tigers' recent signing of Rajai Davis, along with the announcement that third base is essentially Castellanos' job to lose, the chances of Headley sporting the Old English D on Opening Day of 2014 have grown incredibly slim.

It now appears that Headley will most likely not be traded anywhere this offseason, and most believe that he will once again be donning a Padres jersey at the beginning of the 2014 season, barring the event of a surprise deal that comes out of nowhere. Despite the fact that Headley could have potentially provided some pop to the Tigers' lineup, not to mention a fine glove that would have shored up the Tigers' defense, it is probably best that the Tigers did not pursue him for at least five different reasons.

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5. Spacious Comerica Park

Comerica Park ALCS
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Headley is certainly not a stranger to hitting in a pitcher friendly park, as he has spent the first seven years of his big-league career playing in PETCO Park, which is arguably the worst hitter's park in all of baseball. Nevertheless, Comerica Park is still not the ideal venue for a power hitter who is looking to have a comeback season to be playing his home games.

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4. He Strikes Out...A LOT!!!

Headley Striking Out
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
For the past several years now, the Tigers have been snake bitten by players who strike out well beyond 100 times per year. Brandon Inge, Curtis Granderson, Austin Jackson and Alex Avila come most readily to mind. Headley would be a safe bet to continue this trend, as he averages 150 strikeouts per year and is currently on the verge of setting a new franchise record for the most ever strikeouts by a Padres player.
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3. He Would Most Likely be a One Year Rental

Headley in the Batting Cage
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Headley is set to become a free agent after next season, and if he does manage to have a big year in 2014 and puts up numbers that are reminiscent of his 2012 season, the Tigers are most likely not going to be able to pay him what he is going to command on the open market. Currently, the Tigers' biggest priorities are extending Max Scherzer and Cabrera, and they already have a boat load of money invested in Justin Verlander as well. In all likelihood, there will not be enough dough left over for Headley.

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2. No Guarantee That He Will Return to 2012 Form

Headley gives his teammate a high five
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Headley has only had one truly exceptional season in his career, which was his aforementioned 2012 season in which he batted .286 with 31 home runs and led the National League with 115 RBIs. In 2013, his average dipped to .250 and his home run and RBI totals were more than cut in half. To be fair, however, it is important to note that Headley spent the first couple of weeks of the 2013 season on the disabled list due to a thumb injury, and he also played through a knee injury for the vast majority of the season, which undoubtedly contributed to his lack of production. Nevertheless, even though he has already undergone surgery this offseason to repair his knee, and he could have potentially batted in front of Cabrera next year, it still would have been too risky to bank on him returning to his 2012 form next year.

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1. Nick Castellanos

Castellanos in the Batter's Box
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Any potential deal involving Headley coming to Detroit would have most likely resulted in Castellanos being sent the other way. Trading a player who could potentially be a star in a Tigers uniform for many years to come for a player who might star in a Tigers uniform for just one season would be a very unwise decision and a very risky gamble.