Padres 3B Chase Headley will be one of the more sought after bats at the deadline, as it is a relatively weak market for buyers to acquire offensive players. The Toronto Blue Jays are rumored to have significant interest in Headley, especially following a right quadriceps injury to slugger Edwin Encarnacion recently in Oakland.
Expectations skyrocketed following a monstrous 2012 campaign in which Headley blasted 31 HRs, while driving in 115 runs and hitting .286. The Padres third baseman also added a Gold Glove to his mantle while finishing fifth in the National League MVP race.
Since then, Headley has consistently disappointed Padres fans. In 2013, Headley’s line dropped to .250/13 HRs/50 RBIs, and thus far in 2014 he is hitting just .226 with seven HRs and 29 RBIs.
Yet there is still a significant market for Headley as desperate contenders, like the Blue Jays, seek to make a final push for the postseason. Headley has caught fire in the month of July, hitting .327 and putting on a timely show for clubs like the Jays. Now, who should San Diego pursue in Toronto’s system?
Let’s start with D.J. Davis, a 19-year-old speedy center fielder in Class-A Lansing who has been likened to a fellow speedy outfielder, Billy Hamilton. As the Padres begin to rebuild, Davis is the type of player they should pursue in a spacious home ballpark like PETCO Park. Davis has struggled in Lansing, hitting just .215 with 121 strikeouts through just 81 games, but at age 19, he has plenty of time to progress into a prototypical MLB leadoff hitter.
Next is Mitch Nay, a 20-year-old 3B in Single-A and the 58th overall pick in the 2012 draft out of California. He has has hit .287 with two HRs and 47 RBIs through 88 games with the Lansing Lugnuts (A). At 6-foot-3 200 pounds, Nay projects as a middle-of-the-order bat with power who will continue to develop.
Toronto will likely not give up Davis or Nay easily. Which is why San Diego may have to add one of their highly coveted relievers, Huston Street or Joaquin Benoit, to entice the Jays.
Padres OF Chris Denorfia may be of some interest to Toronto as well. With a .300 career batting average against LHP, Denorfia could complement Jay’s OF Colby Rasmus who has hit just .169 thus far in 2014 facing southpaws.
The Jays may only find Headley to be worth a mid-level prospect as opposed to recent high draft picks like Davis and Nay.
If so, the Padres could settle for OF Dalton Pompey, 21, another perfect fit for PETCO Park, who has hit .297 between Single-A and Double-A. They could also consider 3B Matthew Dean, a top-20 prospect within the Jays’ system who has hit .310 with six HRs and 36 RBIs through 77 games in Lansing.
Another intriguing name is Jays 23-year-old OF Anthony Gose who currently finds himself on the Major League roster. After 112 at bats, Gose is hitting just .232, but as a young player with tremendous athleticism and talent, he is worth consideration in a Headley trade. Like Nay and Pompey, his game translates well to spacious PETCO Park.