What Would You Trade for Chase Headley?

The Padres are considering trading Chase Headley, and there isn’t a team more desperate to add a position player right now than the New York Yankees. While it would be nice to pull off a Swisher-like trade for Headley, sending Dellin Betances, and an autographed Derek Jeter game-used bat to San Diego in return for last year’s 5th place NL MVP pick, it is unlikely. So, I have a simple question: What is your best offer?

Headley has been worth an average of 4.0 bWAR over the past 3 seasons, capped by an impressive 6 WAR performance last year. He’s entering his age 29 season with two years of team control left on his contract. Headley plays a very good third base, and has hitting talent that was masked by his home ballpark for most of his career, before an impressive breakout last season. He is a career .302/.372/.464 hitter away from PETCO, including .300/.395/.541 in 2012.

For all intents and purposes, Headley is fairly comparable to Ryan Zimmerman or Evan Longoria. A lot of teams are going to want him in their uniform, although the Yankees are perhaps in better shape than if they were bidding for him during the meat of the hot stove season, when teams had not yet set a plan for their lineups or budget.

So, what’s your best offer for Chase Headley? Here’s mine: David Phelps, Mark Montgomery, Slade Heathcott or Mason Williams, and Corban Joseph.

The Padres receive a starting pitcher who might be better than any player in their 2012 rotation and is under control for 5 more years (2 pre arbitration), a top relief prospect, a risky but high upside center fielder to roam their huge outfield, and an underrated 2nd base prospect that can allow Logan Forsythe to play at another position, or exercise his utility superpowers.

I don’t want to give up more than this. Two years of Chase Headley is great, but the Yankees can’t afford to give up too many future wins for present wins. They are already positioned with a poorly-constructed roster for 2015-2018, and will need a healthy supply of young. cheap WAR to weather the storm without welcoming in the suck years for an extended period of time. And while Headley is a fantastic player, the Yankees do have Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez under long term contract, meaning that Headley would force Alex Rodriguez to full time DH. This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, but Arod can still play third reasonable well, so there is a trade off there if he is able to play again. It would decrease roster flexibility to have a full time DH for years to come as well.

But maybe I am wrong. I’m curious what everyone else’s best offer is for Headley. What would you give up? Would you throw in another top prospect to the package like Tyler Austin? Would you start talking about Gary Sanchez? Ivan Nova?

About EJ Fagan

E.J. Fagan been blogging about Yankee baseball since 2006. He is a Ph.D. student at University of Texas at Austin.

47 thoughts on “What Would You Trade for Chase Headley?

  1. i would go williams over heathcott, i'm higher on heathcott. but i would try for warren over phelps but overall, not a bad idea.

    • My question is, why would the Yanks get a 3B (or 1B) unless they are convinced Tex's injury is a lot worse than what's been publicized? Because if you add a Headley now, and Tex is ready to come back mid-May, what do you do with Youkilis then? DH him? He didn't sign to be a DH, and you've got Hafner. What we really need is a power-hitting corner outfielder (hello, Stanton), or someone with some flexibility to move to the outfield once Tex is healthy. Cuddyer fits that mold.
      As for all this talk about not wanting to deal prospects, how many of those guys ever pan out? Especially in the Yanks system? I have no problem trading any of those prospects if it will bring back a talent like Stanton.

  2. Actually I think I'd dangle Heathcott before Williams. I agree that Heathcott might be a better talent, but he's going to spend a lot of time on the DL with his style. Watching JR Murphy swing a bat, I think I'd consider including Sanchez in a package for either Headley or Giancarlo Stanton.

    By the way, in this day and age, it's too early to project a 2015-2018 roster. While it may not look right at the current time, if they are successful in getting under the $189M ceiling, that outlook might change radically, since the free agent class for the 2014-15 winter has the potential to be quite attractive.

  3. San Diego hangs up on Phelps/Montgomery/(outfielder)/Joseph. They need to do better than a back end starter (even is better than what they have), reliever whose out pitch is more deception than quality, class-A outfielder with promise, and lower tier prospect.

    I would bet on SDP getting a better offer (i.e., better talent closer to the majors) from another team. At least, SDP holding out for a better from NYY.

  4. I'd prefer to give up either Gary Sanchez or J.R Murphy and hope the catcher the Yankees decide to keep pans out. I'd hope a package of Sanchez, Warren, and Corban Joseph could get it done, but i know that's just a pipe dream. Giving up anything more than that feels like dealing a good chunk of the farm system, and that really hurts.

  5. Using John Sickels' ratings — they're not perfect, but they're freely available and generally reflect consensus — that's one B-level OF prospect (Heathcott/Williams), one B- relief prospect (Montgomery), one fringy C+ prospect who's looked terrible this spring (Joseph), and a fungible MLB arm who was never considered a prospect (Phelps).

    That's *way* below market value for a superstar. It's much less than what the Mets got for R.A. Dickey; it's less than the Rays got for Shields; if you follow the (complicated) math, it's even less than the Indians got for Choo. I'm with Paul; there's no way the Padres take this deal.

      • I also wouldn't disagree necessarily with your conclusion that the Padres would reject the trade. This is the maximum that I would give up for Chase Headley. If that means the Yankees can't get Chase Headley, then the Yankees can't get Chase Headley. Thus are the perils of a mediocre farm system.

        • Apparently we don't disagree much. I think the way I'd put it is that Phelps and Joseph have more value to the Yankees than they do in trade.

          For example: Joseph, right now, looks like he's going to profile as a utility infielder with some pop, no speed, and an inability to play SS. Those players are *literally* a dime a dozen — the Orioles got Ryan Flaherty in last year's Rule 5 draft, and the Rays left Cole Figueroa unprotected in this year's Rule 5 (and no one took him). Don't get me wrong; Joseph is a *little* better than Flaherty and Figueroa — but in terms of his trade value, I'd still estimate it as virtually nothing.

  6. I like Headley, but I'm not really sure who he really is as a player. You mention that he has averaged 4 bWAR over the past three seasons, but that has mostly to do with his 6.0 figure this past year. His impressive 3.6 bWAR in 2010 was largely a result of defense. And he's been all over the map according to defensive metrics over the years.

    Prior to 2012, he owned an underwhelming .269/.343/.392 line for an OPS+ of 105. Not bad, especially considering the ballpark. But is he the guy who all of a sudden went nuts at 28 with 31 HR and 115 RBI, or is he closer to the guy who averaged 9 HR and 55 RBI the three previous years? Hard to say. And hard to put together a package of premium prospects for a guy who has really only had one great year. Not that the package you mentioned is filled with top-notch guys, but it's still trading organizational depth for a guy with one breakout year. I wouldn't do it.

    • If you look at his splits he's always had very good numbers away from Petco and I think there is little doubt that in Yankee Stadium he would do even better. I really think playing in Petco has effected his numbers. In the AL and especially the AL East with generally smaller parks I would expect his numbers to explode.

      • Yup, and away for Headley is still AT&T park and Dodgers Stadium. Despite that, Headley had twice as much power from the left side on the road, as compared to at home.

        In 2012, StatCorner graded Petco Park a 61 for left handed hitters, and a 93 for right handed hitters. Yankee Stadium got a 146 for lefties and a 101 for righties. 100 here is the average, so could you imagine what Headley would look like from the left side in Yankee Stadium?

  7. I'd try and hold onto Williams but I would certainly give them a package of Phelps, Montgomery, Heathcott and Joseph. I'd also consider throwing in Betances I have a very strange feeling that he is going to turn into the 2013 version of Brackman. Where the Yankees hold on and hold on to him and then finally let him go. Just my opinion.

  8. I wouldn't give up any of them,your crazy.Let's not get back to the 80's and trade youth and prospects for stop gap players.

  9. Even with Hundley I do not see the Yanks as serious contenders for a WS berth over the next two years. Consequently what is considered in this post for a trade is too high. It might be worth it for Stanton, who would be under team control much longer. I'd much rather see a rebuilding couple of years to see if prospects can be coming contributors. The path to success is moving beyond the old Yankee model and this team should take a few years to adjust.

  10. If the Yankees honestly want Chase Headly, the trade will be more like Austin + Banuelos. Depending on other offers, it may even be Sanchez + Austin.

    • Banuelos is an interesting trade chip. The Braves got value out of Arodys Vizcaino last season, who was in a very similar circumstance. I could see him being used as a trade chip, and wouldn't have a problem with him substituting for anyone in my best offer example above.

      • Banuelos would be about five months into recovery at the time of trade (if it happens now, which it won't, so he would be 9 months into recovery in July), which is even further along than Vizcaino, and I imagine if he is progressing well, both sides should be able to look at his medical+rehab and measure how well they feel he will recover. Obviously the Padres would have to feel overwhelmed by the evidence for them to consider this, but it has been done before, and proper rehab time for the surgery is about 11 months, meaning he is halfway through (80% in July). Given the number of TJs, the huge amount of data regarding recovery rates, times, markers for success, et cetera, I imagine it is far enough to make a decision. The cubs did it after three and a half months.

  11. They would not have to trade Sanchez or Austin. Both of those are off the table. For me, I think you could get Headley with Nova, Heathcott, Cojo, and Montgomery. Quite frankly we have 4 top tier OF prospects in Slade, Austin, Mason, and the oft overlooked Flores. We can lose one of them and still be fine.

    • I don't really think the Yankees can afford to trade Nova. The problem is at the end of this season the Yankees will have in all likelihood 3 starting pitchers they will have to replace: Kuroda, Pettitte and Hughes are all FA's. Trading Nova would leave the Yankees with really only 1 starter worth his weight (no pun intended) that's CC. Phelps is a nice piece but he's at best a back end #5 starter. Pineda has potential but at this stage having or coming back from a shoulder injury after missing what will be about 18 months it would be a gamble to count to heavily on him until he can prove himself.

        • It's actually not Nova that's the roadblock here from my perspective. It's the fact that Kuroda, Pettitte and Hughes are all FA's at the end of the year. Leaving the Yankees starting pitching cupboard bare.

        • My friend the way I see it what's the good of having Headley if come 2014 your starting rotation is: CC, Phelps, Warren and possibly Pineda coming off of a serious injury and as yet an unnamed 5th starter.

          • The Yankees do have a number of exciting pitching prospects which in the next two years will either show that they are ready or not.

            Bryan Mitchell
            Brett Marshall

            Those are a number of young pitchers we have in the system that need to prove whether or not they belong. If they do, we can afford to lose Nova. If not, Roy Halladay will be available next season.

          • Oh and don't forget Jose Ramirez. Now obviously Nova is already established and an MLB caliber pitcher, but he is at best a middle of the rotation guy. We have a number of those and a few high end potential pitchers as well. We can afford to lose Nova to land someone like Headley imo.

          • "In the next 2 years will either show that they are ready or not"…Betances has been pretty much a bust to date as a starter. Warren is again at the very best a back of the rotation starter as is Phelps. Pineda we've already discussed and what he may or may not be able to contribute due to his injury. As for Mitchell he hasn't even made it up to Double A yet. Marshall seems to be the most intriguing but he still has to prove himself in Triple A. Even IF one of 2 of those kids performs they are at best 2 years away. What do the Yankees do for both the 2013 and especially the 2014 season. Plus the fact does anyone here really think the Yankees/Cashman are going to go to war in the AL East and AL with a starting rotation in 2014 of: CC, Phelps, Pineda, Warren and Marshall because I don't. In my humble opinion that's not a starting rotation that they can even hope to compete with against the other AL Teams.

          • On the most basic level: A 3-win improvement at 3rd means you need to make up 3 fewer wins on starting pitching. The Yankees have so many holes that they should focus more on overall contribution than specific position. You're also filling 1-2 outfield spots, a DH spot, catcher, possibly 2nd and 3rd, and even possibly shortstop (should Jeter's performance collapse). The bullpen is pretty much the only thing in good shape medium term.

  12. Has anyone learned a thing? What you're talking about doing is the exact same thing that has been done in the past to leave the team in the situation it's in right now. You want to trade Phelps, who could prove to be one of the most important pitchers on the staff this year, one of 2 potential all-star outfielders, a stud relief arm who the Yankees will more than likely need in The Show this year and a guy in Joseph who will be a valuable backup infielder this year to plug a hole the team will have for a maximum of 6 weeks. And to those people who want to add Sanchez or Murphy to the fold are even more delusional. Do you not see what the catching situation has become on this team?
    If the Yankees trade their only catching prospects they will be in the same situation they're in now only with Cervelli being paid like Yadi. By trading any of these players for Headly is insane. Headly is a very good player whose offence would probably play up in Yankee stadium and the more hitter friendly parks in the AL east, but in effect you are gutting your farm system for a long term solution to a problem that needs nothing more than a band-aid.

    • I don't think its fair to classify this type of trade (1 of the 3 outfielders + 1 of Phelps/Nova + 2 B- prospects) as gutting the farm system. The Yankee farm system is very top heavy with the top four hitters and arguably Banuelos, so the loss of the other guys isn't all that impactful either way.

      Trading for an established very good player, especially in this age of contract extensions instead of free agency, isn't necessarily a bad idea. I agree that the Yankees must be cautious in trading future wins for present wins, but there is also such a thing as too much caution. Headley gives you a player in a different age cohort from everyone else on the team, which is significant.

      • Agreed. If the Yankees learned anything over the last couple of years, it's don't hug your prospects to tightly. They could have had a number of valuable players for Hughes and Joba. Granderson was a net win. And Cliff Lee could be a Yankee now instead of Michael Pineda if they'd been willing to give up NUNEZ!

        The New York media over hypes prospects. I love these outfielders, but they fit the Padres needs. Send them Heathcott and Williams, or swap Gary Sanchez for Yasmani Grandal. I'd much rather have someone who is major league ready at this point.

  13. The problem with this is that it's reactionary. Teixeira will miss, at the very most, 6 weeks of the season. Phelps/Warren are 2 pitchers who the Yankees will need desperately this season as the pitching staff is their biggest strength and with Hughes possibly on the shelf for a while and not really knowing what you're getting from Nova this year. Monty and Joseph are not high ceiling prospects for sure but they will be very valuable to the Yankees this year, Montgomery because Yankee relievers are already dropping like flies with Robertson, Aardsma, Logan and Rapada out. And Joseph because he's essentially a Nix who can hit. I personally think they should give him a chance to play third and move Youkilis to first until Tex is back. He will hit enough to be useful for a few weeks. Heathcott Williams and Austin are the Yankees 2014-2015 outfield. You may see this as being too cautious, but I see it as reckless. Trading for Headley will handcuff the Yankees even more than they already are for at least the next 3 years.

    • Trading for Headley is not reactionary for most of us. We've loved Headley, even before his breakout season.

      My point would be that the Yankees only project to win 87 or 88 games. This assumes that this team can stay on the field, despite it's age. As the team stands, the chances at finishing in first are very small. This is still a good organization that'll have money coming off the books next year, and three first round picks to replenish a farm system in June. Getting rid of two top prospects will hardly kill their future. If anything, hugging prospects like they've done should be what were worried about.

  14. Please excuse this extremely long post…

    The argument that the Yankees would be trading the farm for Headley comes into play simply because a lot of prospects don't pan out, and losing 2 very good prospects lowers the "odds" of somebody turning out well. That being said, if you want to look at the implications for next year, the lineup would still be (in no particular order)

    2nd basemen/maybe Cano?
    Left fielder

    That would certainly be serviceable for a lineup, without a doubt.

    Then the pitching, assuming that Hughes, Kuroda, and Pettitte all leave.

    C.C, Pineda, Phelps/Nova (i'm assuming one of them would be included in the trade).

    The Yankees next year would still need 2 starters, a LF'er, and a 2nd basemen.

    With Mo, Cano,Youk, and Gradnerson coming off the books, along with Kuroda, Pettitte, and Hughes, it would leave the Yankees with nearly 75million dollars. But they can't/won't spend all of that on players, so let's assume they can spend 50 million. 25 million on two starters, and 25 million on a LF'er and a 2nd basemen. With the amount of money they would be able to work with, it sounds fairly possible to have an extremely talented team (depending on the growth of Phelps/Nova, and Pineda).

    So yes, I am all for this trade right now, because it would give them the opportunity to win this year and next year, as well as give them adequate time to let the farm system grow.

  15. We have an outside chance to make the PS this year if many things go right. So far, they haven't. We have a less than outside chance of making the PS in 2014. However, after the Yanks save some money in 2014, by 2015, with many of our kids MLB ready and money to spend, we may be able to overcome the ARod/Teix contracts and still field fine teams in 2015 going forward.

    I would NOT give up any prime meat for a 2 year rental.
    You never know who is going to make it large.
    We dangled Mo, Cano and others in the past. Fortunately, they weren't taken. AJax was!

    That will NEVER happen again if we keep trading our better/best prospect for ONE shiney object.

    • This is highly revisionist. The dynasty Yankees were not the Tampa Bay Rays. David Cone, David Wells, Roger Clemens, Chuck Knoblauch,, Tino Martinez, and Paul O'Neil were all either hired guns or came to the Yankees in a trade in return for prospects.

  16. While I am certainly guilty of prospect love, if the Yankees could get Headley for the package mentioned in the original post they would be crazy not to do it. IMHO, Williams would be the one to deal, not Heathcott though. I may be the only one who loves Gardner but I would be just fine with a future outfield of Slade, Brett, and Austin. It seems to me that Brett is the oft overlooked player and I am not sure why. The guy is an absolute gamer and a very valuable member of the current and future rosters.

  17. David Phelps, Mark Montgomery, Slade Heathcott or Mason Williams, and Corban Joseph.———-

    sweeten it just a little and it's about right for Stanton

    • I assume you mean former Braves pitcher Mike, because that package wouldn't get you a *date* with Giancarlo Stanton.

      • Don't be so sure, Miami does have a history of buying on the quantity over quality when amassing prospects in trades.

        I would try to build a deal for Giancarlo around granderson and 2 of the 3 of prospects, in which case we would be set in the outfield for the next 5-7 years, once the not moved prospect emerges, hopefully once Ichiro is ready to hang em up.

        So essentially: Granderson, Ausitn, Williams, Campos and someone else.

  18. That package with Nunez thrown in and the Yanks get Everth Cabrera and Chris Denorfia along with Headley. Nunez becomes the Padres new SS under control for a year more than Cabrera.

    Jeter moves to DH (Hafner released), Youkilis mans 1B until Teixiera returns then Youkilis is traded to a team who could use a veteran 1B/3B/DH four months at $8M or around that (assuming Teixiera returns June 1-1) or kept as the most expensive backup 1B/3B and spot DH in MLB history and so what with Headley at 3B?

    The Yanks at full-strength:

    C – Cervelli
    1B – Teixiera (Youkilis until Teixiera returns)
    2B – Cano
    3B – Headley signed through 2014
    SS – Cabrera signed through 2016
    LF – Gardner (Denorfia until Granderson returns)
    CF – Granderson (Gardner until Granderson returns)
    RF – Suzuki
    DH/Backup SS – Jeter (He returns to SS if Cabrera sucks. Hafner is released.)

    Or Jeter could remain at SS (Youkilis DH) and Cabrera is the backup 2B/SS (Nix released) who makes say a third of a season worth of starts at SS (Jeter makes 36 starts at DH and rests 18 games minus games he comes in to pinch-hit.) Cabrera could be the everyday 2B if Cano signs elsewhere after 2013 or the everyday SS if Jeter signs elsewhere after 2013 i.e. he's an insurance policy at either position.


    Stewart (Backup C)
    Youkilis (Backup 1B/3B)
    Nix (Backup 2B/Third-String 3B/SS)
    Denorfia (Backup OF who gets at least 400 PA playing all three OF positions when you consider he'd be the LF until Granderson returns, Rivera and Diaz released.)

    The Yanks could go in alot of directions here as they could trade anyone above save Jeter, Headley, and Suzuki if he has a no-trade clause.

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    reading here.