The rumors, trade talks and speculations have finally come to an end. The San Diego Padres came to an agreement with the New York Yankees Tuesday that sends 3B Chase Headley to the Bronx bombers in exchange for infielder Yangervis Solarte and RHP Rafael De Paula.
For San Diego, the return is nothing to be excited about, but fair in value.
Headley, 30, is hitting just .229/.296/.355 with seven home runs and 32 RBI. Headley will bring plus defense to New York and a bat that has been hot of late—hitting .323 in the month of July.
For San Diego, they have now learned the hard way that they should have traded Headley at his peak value in 2012/13.
The Padres receive a utility man in Solarte, and an average single-A pitcher in De Paula, while also receiving about $3 million in salary relief—perhaps the most valuable return in the trade.
Solarte, 27, will join the big league club immediately. Through 75 games with the Yankees the Venezuela native has hit .254/.337/.387 6 HRs and 31 RBIs—which will instantly make him the leading run producer for a woeful San Diego offense.
Through three seasons in the Yankees’ system, De Paula has posted a 3.58 ERA with 358 strikeouts in just 264 innings pitched. He projects as a middle reliever with good velocity and a need for further development of his secondary pitches.
Solarte will provide the Padres some depth, and De Paula may develop into a descent arm in the bullpen, but for San Diego, its about what could have been. Had San Diego dealt Headley after his spectacular 2012 campaign in which he hit .296/.376/.498 with 31 HRs and 115 RBIs, the Gold Glover would have brought in multiple high-end prospects.
The Padres are a rebuilding franchise that must trade its assets at peak value in an effort to acquire young talent. They failed to do so in 2012, and it cost them. Instead of extending assets like Seth Smith, the friars should instead deal their veteran players at peak value to receive a max return.