The San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley saw another offseason go by uncertain of his future left in San Diego. Headley and the organization avoided arbitration by signing a one-year deal worth $10.5 million, but his play on a youth-laden team will ultimately decide his future.
The league knows Headley’s contract is up at the end of 2014, but the Padres don’t know how to appraise his value. His earned career numbers in 2012 where he hit a career-high 31 home runs and league leading 115 RBIs earning him a Silver Slugger. His line then was .286/.376/.498.
A thumb and knee injury seemed to be the root of his 2013 slump where he fell back to career averages, hitting 13 home runs and 50 RBIs, earning a line of .250/.347/.400.
Headley, adamantly does not want to deal with any talk of contract extension during the regular season, knowing the issue would cause distraction in the Padres locker room.
Frankly, the Padres are afraid of buyer’s remorse. Extending Headley would mean top dollar for his services and $10.5 million isn’t going to cut it. He significant drop off from 2012 suggests to the Padres that it was a fluke and 2013 was closer to the norm. Because the Padres operate on a smaller budget than their counterparts in the NL West, they want to their money’s worth from Headley.
If they don’t settle by the end of March, the Padres will have to watch the standings before handling Headley. There have been rumors circulating that the Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have been interested, but are not willing to meet Josh Byrnes’ demands.
The only way for the Padres to see Headley’s future is winning in 2014. They have the pitching to do so, so it’ll be up to Headley and company to manufacture runs and wins.