Could the Chicago Cubs be in on free agent Chase Headley?
With three teams publicly in the mix for free agent third baseman Chase Headley – including the New York Yankees, Miami Marlins and San Francisco Giants – a final decision could be in the works during this week’s Winter Meetings in San Diego. That being said, the 30-year-old slugger reportedly has a four-year, $64 million offer in-hand – and it is believed to have come from a mystery team.
Headley opened the 2014 season with the team that drafted him, the San Diego Padres, before being dealt to the New York Yankees – a team that had a need for both offense and a corner infielder in the wake of Alex Rodriguez‘s season-long suspension. It was a tale of two halves for the swtich-hitting third baseman, especially in terms of his work at the dish.
In the season’s first half (spent with San Diego), he batted .229/.296/.355 with seven home runs and a dozen doubles in 77 contests. Following the trade to New York, however, his numbers were much more in-line with his career averages, as he batted .262/.371/.398 down the stretch for Joe Girardi‘s club. Between the two clubs, Headley hit 13 home runs for the second-consecutive season, after blasting a career-high 31 long-balls in 2012 for the Padres.
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Now, back to the rumor mill. With all three known suitors reportedly looking to avoid a four-year pact, asking which team in the league made that $64 million pact is a question worth pondering. And for the Chicago Cubs, a team that lacked consistent offense once again in 2014, asking whether or not Headley could be a potential fit in the Friendly Confines is an intriguing thought, to say the least.
Granted, Chicago has the likes of up-and-comer Kris Bryant knocking on the door to the big leagues. He led all of Minor League Baseball in home runs last season and received countless accolades for his dominant season – which was his first full professional campaign. The only semi-official report tying Headley to Chicago came from Marino Pepen, a Boston area sports radio host – and since initially being posted, it has since been deleted. That being said, the former second-round pick is an interesting option for the Cubs.
Based on his 2013 and 2014 performances, no – Headley likely is not worth $64 million. However, after showing signs of improvement after his trade to New York and keeping in mind that he is just two years removed from a 31-homer, 112 RBI season with San Diego, he could ultimately prove to be a steal at that price. Pablo Sandoval signed a five-year, $95 million deal with Boston this winter – and while he is a proven winner – he’s never come anywhere near the production Headley had in 2012.
Signing Headley could lead to Bryant shifting to a corner outfield slot – something that has been rumored even before the Headley link surfaced – which would give the Cubs a lineup that could look something like this come 2015:
"Alcantara, Baez, Rizzo, Headley, Bryant, Castro, Soler, Castillo"
Needless to say, that looks to be a pretty solid lineup to trot out on a daily basis.
Whether or not the Cubs are even remotely interested in Headley is anybody’s guess. That being said, adding an impact bat like the former San Diego slugger will only benefit the likes of Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, both of whom are already coming off solid campaigns.
With the attention of Cubs’ fans focused firmly on the starting pitching market, be sure to keep an eye out at the Winter Meetings this week as Chicago could look to change the look and feel of the lineup by adding a Headley or another impact bat.