Tigers Trade Target: Chase Headley


This seems to be sort of a recurring theme here: is it safe to say that MCB “covets” Chase Headley? I think it may be. For the first time in two years, the notion of a trade to acquire a third baseman sounds plausible again. It’s hard to imagine a better fit than the San Diego Padre Headley. At this point, one would also imagine that San Diego’s reluctance to sell might have evaporated (since Headley is no longer cheap and has only one year of team control remaining) and that Headley’s price might be a little lower, after a subpar 2013 and October knee surgery.

Sep 25, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; SSan Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley (7) warms up prior to the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

What Headley offers is a guy that is above average, for his position, in every possible respect without excelling anywhere. The total package is, nonetheless, all-star caliber. If Headley’s .765 career OPS doesn’t inspire you, remember that he has played his whole career in San Diego in one of the least hospitable hitting environments in the bigs. His road OPS is 100 points higher than his home OPS and that is definitely not typical, even for a park that isn’t a great place to hit. I would expect that his production with the Tigers would at the very least mirror his road numbers, possibly a little higher (since it is typical for guys to hit better at home than on the road, for reasons that have little to do with the park itself). His defense is above average, he steals a few bases, he hits some home runs. He’s also a switch hitter that draws walks, and would make a pretty good fit for the #3 lineup spot ahead of Miguel Cabrera, assuming that Cabrera is moved down to cleanup once more. I’d also expect that Headley could be signed to an extension this offseason for something like a $16 million annual value, which should be well worth it and far less than what it will take to hold onto Scherzer.

I can imagine two potential packages that might be enough to get Headley, and it is possible that in both cases I am overestimating what it would actually “cost”. In both cases I would expect that the Tigers could get a decent young bullpen arm as a secondary player in the deal as the scales tip slightly in the Padres favor otherwise. The first would be a combination of Rick Porcello and Nick Castellanos, sent directly to San Diego. The second would be a three way deal that sent Max Scherzer to Washington with the Nationals’ prospects then going to San Diego. The first makes sense if the Tigers are going to spend liberally. The second makes sense if they aren’t.