As soon as I’d started typing that third baseman Chase Headley could make his free agent decision as soon as today, according to WFAN, he has reportedly agreed to a deal with the Yankees worth four years and a little over $50 million (Jon Heyman).
One of the top bats left on the market, Headley had been connected to the Cubs periodically over the past few weeks by rumors that we never gave a lot of credence. Instead, it always seemed like he would be choosing between the Yankees and Giants, each of whom really need him, and clearly have a spot. So it’s the Yankees who retain Headley – on a pretty good deal, in my opinion – and the free agent market for bats shrinks to almost nothingness.
What might end up being interesting to the Cubs in the wake of a Headley signing is if it creates more market interest in Luis Valbuena.
It’s still unclear whether the Cubs would actually consider trading Valbuena before the season (i.e., before they know for sure how they want to work in Kris Bryant, and how/where he’ll best succeed), and it’s certain that the Cubs aren’t going to be dealing him for anything less than a significant return.
But it’s possible that Headley returning to the Yankees could create the kind of desperation (and sell high) situation that the Cubs could take advantage of, whether it’s the Giants or another team that was in on Headley (Marlins?).
Not that I really want to see the Cubs shopping Valbuena … but that’s mostly an irrational attachment.
Though, the guy is damn good, so how irrational is it, really?
This is the kind of mental batflips my brain starts doing when I think about the possibility that the Cubs could move Valbuena. I don’t know where I land just yet. If there’s huge value there to be reaped and the Cubs can withstand losing Valbuena, go for it. If not – and I mean serious value – then I like the idea of letting Valbuena start the year as the man at third base, and then dealing with the Bryant-related fallout when it comes. Maybe Bryant heads to the outfield. Maybe someone in the infield gets hurt, and Valbuena winds up at second base. Maybe Valbuena becomes an incredible utility player. You never know. But, for now, it’s good to have Valbuena around.