It is surreal when real life imitates fantasy and the Chase Headley trade is a sure sign of it. Coming off a career year in 2012, Headley was rumored to be on the move for what seemed like the entire 2013 season. But the Padres committed a classic mistake and held on to him too long. There was a time in 2013 that a bidding war could have ensued between the Yankees, Blue Jays and Indians to name just a few teams. According to Craig Calcaterra, Headley was discussed in trades with the Diamondbacks for Justin Upton. When you hold a chip and the franchise is struggling, sometimes a deal like this can get you back on track, but hold on too long and look what happens. The Padres dealt Chase Headley to the Yankees but at a bargain rate as compared to last year. They have sent Headley along with a million dollars to the Yankees for Yangervis Solarte (a minor league free-agent) and pitcher Rafael DePaula. Timing is everything, right?
As to the trade itself, the Yankees are dire need of more production at 3B with the disappointing Kelly Johnson and the likes of Zelous Wheeler filling in. Acquiring a “professional” hitter like Headley will help lengthen their aging lineup. Headley is not a savior by any means, but he is definitely an upgrade over what the Yankees are rolling out there now. Of interest will be if Headley can finish strong in a contract year and make himself relevant to the fantasy community once more. Not taking into account his new home, here are his rest of the season stats from two projections per Fangraphs.com:
Chase Headley ZiPS Projection (ROS): 54 G, 25 R, 6 HR, 25 RBI, 4 SB 243/331/372
Chase Headley Steamer Projection (R): 54 G, 26 R, 6 HR, 25 RBI, 3 SB 252/335/398
Headley’s counting numbers should see an uptick simply because his situation has improved. Ballpark factors aside, even though the Yankees are not what they once were offensively, they are still an upgrade over the Padres. Using the home run tracker overlay, here is how his six home runs this season would have traveled in New York:
Also, here is a look at his current spray chart for 2014 according to BrooksBaseball.net, there are at least four outs on there that could have been more in a different ballpark:
Over the course of his career Headley has had some interesting splits. First, I will compare them in 2014 and then his career numbers:
2014 home: 39 G, 2 HR, 18 RBI .250/.303/.357
2014 away: 38 G, 5 HR, 15 RBI .209/.290/.353
Career home: 454 G, 35 HR, 181 RBI .243/.331/.372
Career away: 451 G, 52 HR, 220 RBI .286/.360/.444
Usually a trade like this has a way of revitalizing a player; remember the 2013 version of Alfonso Soriano? With the benefit of a better hitting environment, surrounding cast and a pennant race, Headley is primed for a rebound to finish the year. But overpaying for that will be a mistake. If you are bidding on 8-10 home runs (ballpark inflation) and a slash line of .270/.330/.400 then you will not be disappointed. Times like this are perfect for selling him on what he may do as opposed to what he will. Learn from San Diego’s mistake and flip him now if you can. In AL only leagues I can see him being a 30-40% budget bid but breaking the bank on Headley is not advised unless you are desperate for a corner infielder. In mixed leagues he is worth speculating on but at a discounted bid.
San Diego Padres:
After netting a nice return for Huston Street (you can see my reaction here) the Padres have to be disappointed in their haul for Chase Headley. Yangervis Solarte is a minor league free agent from Texas that the Yankees caught lightning in a bottle with and now he is going to play in San Diego in a utility role. Rafael DePaula has appeared on prospect lists but was slipping in the Yankee ranks. He went from Baseball America’s #10 Yankee prospect in 2012 to #15 in 2013. Here are their chances going forward:
Yangervis Solarte 2014 ZiPS (ROS): 51 G, 21 R, 4 HR, 20 RBI, 1 SB .262/.312/.377
Steamer (R): 38 G, 17 R, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 1 SB .261/.315/.373
While I do not believe that Solarte is relevant to fantasy players going forward, he may be able to get to the Steamer rest of the season projection. He is a nice story, but with a role as a utility infielder his ceiling is severely limited.
Rafael DePaula 2014 Stats A+ Tampa Stats: 6 W, 89 IP, 104/38 K/BB, 4.15 ERA, 1.42 WHIP
DePaula’s numbers are not staggering and the Padres will probably let him get to at least AA before transitioning him to their pen. With his spotty command/ 94 MPH fastball and slider combo he profiles better in a relief role in the future. With the acquisition of R.J. Alvarez in the Huston Street deal, San Diego may have gotten two arms that will slot nicely in the 8th (DePaula) and 9th (Alvarez) in the future.
As for the Padres going forward, this probably means that Taylor Lindsey will get a long look at 2B next spring with Jedd Gyorko returning to 3B as a part of their rebuild. This will hurt Gyorko’s fantasy value but if he can return to his power hitting ways, owners may be able to get him at a deep discount in 2015.
Greg Jewett is The Sports Script’s senior fantasy baseball writer. Follow him on Twitter @gjewett9!
Statistical credits: Fangraphs.com, MiLB.com, Steamer Projections, BrooksBaseball.net, Baseball-Reference.com, ESPN Home Run Tracker
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/DOdnYO