Monday, December 15, 2014

Yankees choose stability with Chase Headley

According to multiple reports first noted by FOXSports’ Ken Rosenthal, third baseman Chase Headley will be signing with the New York Yankees for four-years worth $52 million per a tweet from CBSSports’ Jon Heyman. The deal is pending a physical. The Bombers were adamant about their desire to re-sign Headley from the moment the season ended and while it might have cost more than initially suspected, the deal is a good one for the Yankees.

Headley was dealt to the Yankees in July and showed some life at the plate after a rough time in San Diego. With the Bombers, Headley posted a .262/.371/.398 slash line with six home runs in 224 plate appearances. His defense at third base was spectacular and it is a big reason the Yankees are settling on Headley. Headley posted a UZR/150 of 28.0 at the hot corner in 2014 and carries a 10.8 mark at third base over his career.

Headley’s market value seemed to grow once Pablo Sandoval signed a 5-year, $95 million deal with the Boston Red Sox. There was said to be a four-year, $65 million deal on the table for Headley, which over time was being doubted. The San Francisco Giants were also said to be in pursuit of Headley’s services.

Signing Headley means the Yankees will move Martin Prado to second base giving some veteran presence around newly minted shortstop Didi Gregorius who was acquired in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. It also allows the Yankees to give prospect Rob Refsnyder a full season at Triple-A (barring injuries) and likely will provide Jose Pirela with a utility role in New York. I believe in the end, the Yankees were not exactly overly excited about a Pirela/Refsnyder battle for second base so long as they could get Headley.

In my view signing Headley provides the Yankees with some stability at third base and I firmly believe that Headley's bat will provide dividends in the Bronx. He may not hit 31 home runs again, but 20 is not out of the question in my opinion.

The signing also means the Yankees can begin to focus on the rotation which is in need of one, if not two starting pitchers. The market is fairly thin here so it remains to seen where the Yankees will look to fill the voids. They have checked in on Hiroki Kuroda, but he is said to still be unsure of his plans to pitch in 2015 and Brandon McCarthy recently agreed to a four-year $48 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Yankees are said to be showing little to no interest in signing Max Scherzer or James Shields at this time. After Scherzer and Shields, the free agent pitching market is very thin.

As for the trade market, Cole Hamels tops the list at the moment, but it remains to be seen if the Yankees have the talent required to nab him. Others available are Jordan Zimmermann (would pose Yanks similar issue as Hamels) or Doug Fister both of the Washington Nationals.

As I mentioned earlier today, I believe signing Headley was the best infield option for the Yankees even though I had said a three-year, $39 million deal might get the job done back in September. It seems that each multiyear deal this offseason has gone one year longer than might be initially desired by teams. That seems to be the case with Headley.

Are you happy with the Headley deal? Let me know in the comments below.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer and sports media strategist. His baseball commentary has also been published on Yahoo Sports, the FanSided network, Sportsideo and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In. He is a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and the BYB Hub.