This certainly adds an interesting flavor to tonights Cubs/Padres series.
As first reported by Jack Curry and Ken Rosenthal, and then confirmed on the particulars by Jon Heyman, the New York Yankees have acquired Chase Headley (and $1 million) from the San Diego Padres for infielder Yangervis Solarte and pitching prospect Rafael De Paula. Solarte, 27, was an early-season darling who is rapidly descending to where folks thought he would be. De Paula, 23, is an interesting arm with upside, but is currently just at High-A.
Although it’s not much of a return for Headley, you’ve got to remember that he’s an impending free agent who has hit just .229/.296/.355 this year. I’m not sure that the 2012 high water mark will ever return for him.
In landing Headley, to whom I believe the Yankees have been vaguely connected before, the Yankees are ascribing to the roster-improvement philosophy that you just try to get better, regardless of your specific “needs.” Obviously, the Yankees need pitching. But they could also use another bat, and, should Headley improve in the transition from lefty-killer Petco to lefty-lover Yankee Stadium, maybe Healey is a marked upgrade for them. (And it’s not too shabby for righties, either – Headley switch hits.)
The Cubs obviously have some infield assets potentially on the market – Luis Valbuena and Darwin Barney chief among them – but not quite in the Headley tier, his recent struggles notwithstanding. In that regard, there’s not a ton of impact here, though it does leave open teams like the Blue Jays and A’s, who’ve previously been connected to Cubs infielders. Further, the Yankees improving could lead to the Blue Jays – who had specifically been connected to Headley – getting more aggressive in the trade market. They need a second baseman or a third baseman, too.
The other possible impact here is that the Yankees are clearly going to use their financial might to improve their team however possible for the stretch run. Being that they do still need starting pitchers, is it possible they come around on Edwin Jackson? Just thinking out loud.
As for the value the Padres got, and its impact on the market, I’ll probably need to know a little more about what the scouting community thinks on De Paula before coming down too hard. At first glance, it looks like the Padres might have been better off holding out for more, and, if they didn’t get it, risking the qualifying offer after the season (especially given that they don’t actually have a GM pulling the strings yet).
If you’re a conspiracy theorist on the timing, however, you’d point out that dumping Headley now – as opposed to next week – slightly improves the Padres’ odds of losing to the Cubs, a team that they would arguably really like to lose to right now, all things considered.