Alex Rodriguez, meet your new competitor for third base: Chase Headley.
ESPN is reporting that Headley has signed a four-year contract worth $52 million. The Yankees beat out teams such as the Giants and Red Sox for Headley’s talents. Headley joined the Yankees after being traded to them by the San Diego Padres just before the trading deadline last season.
While with San Diego, Headley struggled at the plate, hitting just.229 with seven home runs and 32 RBIs. After being traded to the Yankees, Headley hit.262 with six home runs and 17 RBIs. He ended the 2014 season with a.243 average, 13 home runs and 49 RBIs.
The signing of Headley now presents Yankees general manager Brian Cashman with a bit of an issue. 2015 brings the return of Alex Rodriguez, who served his one-year suspension for violating the collective bargaining agreement signed between the players’ union and the baseball team owners. However, Rodriguez will be 40 when training camp begins next February. Headley will be 30. Is it possible that Headley has been signed to replace Rodriguez? Cashman said not necessarily.
“If I signed a Chase Headley, he would be the starting third baseman,” Cashman said then. “[Rodriguez] is going to compete for at-bats and for a position. The position would be third, and obviously DH, and that’s it. Maybe some time at first base. He may be eventually the everyday third baseman, he may be the everyday DH; I just don’t know.”
Headley also has experience at first base, as well.
The New York Post reports that Headley fits perfectly with the Yankees’ new mentality. Gone are the days where you could throw mega-millions at a couple of superstars and build around them to win championships. There are very few superstars around; even fewer are available. So, the Yankees revised their thinking, allocating salaries for true value (one player can play multiple positions, switch-hit). Headly is in that category, a switch-hitter who can play two different positions.
The Yankees have on their team now a third switch-hitter (with Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira). Headley is also capable of hitting around 15 home runs. They don’t have one true power-hitter, but have about seven or eight hitters who, if they stay healthy, can produce throughout the year. The Yankees might even strike lightning with Headley; Headley finished fifth in the Most Valuable Player voting for the National League in 2012. Headley is also considered a defensive upgrade from the committee they had at third base last year.
The Yankees also left themselves with an interesting out. If, for some reason, Headley doesn’t pan out, they could trade Headley for other needs, and unloading a $13 million a year contract via a trade is not that difficult in today’s game.
[Image courtesy of iSportWeb]