15 Dec 2014
The Yankees have signed Chase Headley for a deal reportedly worth 4/52. I was wrong on the length, but got the AAV right when I speculated about this last week. There are reasons to like this move and reasons not to like it.
Let’s start with the negatives first. Headley will never be the player he was in 2012. Accepting that is important, because expecting him to hit 30 homers next year is a bad bet. Furthermore, his signing means the Yankees may have blocked the opportunity to get younger at second with Refsnyder or Pirela. (more on that in a bit) His health has not been stellar. And I guess the money is a negative, but it also may just be the way the world works now.
Now for the good news. Headley is a plus defender at third. He is a switch-hitter with remarkably similar splits against LHP and RHP. He is still only 30. He makes the Yankees better.
Everyone will now expect the Yankees to trot out a defensive lineup (2-10) like this: McCann, Teixeira, Prado, Headley, Gregorious, Gardner, Ellsbury, Beltran, A-Rod. I am not convinced of that. I am wondering if A-Rod is going to make this team. His only path to the lineup now is clearly as the DH. But will the Yankees really have a full-time DH? That depends on A-Rod’s production. The average DH hit .249/.322/.424 last year. In 2013, Alex hit .244/.348/.423. Is it reasonable to expect him to be better than that now at almost age 40 and after a year “off” from baseball? And what happens if Refsnyder and/or Pirela prove in camp that they belong? What happens if Beltran proves he shouldn’t play in the field anymore? Alex Rodriguez got squeezed out of a position today, but he could be squeezed further.