Padres Move Headley for Two More Prospects

The San Diego Padres traded longtime third baseman Chase Headley, who will be a free agent at the end of the year, to the New York Yankees for infielder Yangervis Solarte and minor league pitcher Rafael De Paula with San Diego throwing in an additional $1 million dollars to somewhat offset the salary discrepancy.

What the Padres Got: Salary relief and “something”.

According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts Chase Headley was making $10.525 million dollars in his last year of arbitration with both sides relatively far apart according to numerous reports throughout the year by UT San Diego and The Mighty 1090 AM, the flagship radio station of the Padres. By trading Headley and a million dollars the Padres saved in the neighborhood of around three to four million in sunk costs.

Yangervis Solarte, 26, is a switch-hitting Venezuelan middle infielder who is now with his fourth organization after previously being with the Twins, Rangers and the Yankees. In nine minor league seasons he has career numbers of .288/.339/.401 and this year was hitting .254/.337/.381 with the Yankees and seeing time primarily at third, but also second and a few games at short.

Realistically he profiles as a utility infielder who could give current jack-of-all trades Alexi Amarista some competition as injured players being to come off of the disabled list.

The “something” part of the deal was the second player, pitcher Rafael De Paula, 23, a six-foot-two, 212 lbs. Dominican right-hander who had a 104 strikeouts in High-A Tampa in 89 innings against only 38 walks. According to Baseball America he profiles more as a relief pitcher because he doesn’t have an average breaking ball or change-up. Just a big fastball that sits regularly in the mid-to high nineties, and according to a recent PinstripesPlus article (a sister site of MadFriars on the network) he has made considerable improvement this season.

That is the type of gamble on a player you always take. At worst he is a quality bullpen arm in maybe in less than a year from now. The upside, is he could develop into a mid-rotation starter if the pitching coaches can get him to develop a curve ball and change. With that velocity, if it’s average it will play.

What the Padres Gave Up: Essentially when the Padres signed Jedd Gyorko long-term in early April the writing was on the wall that Headley was not coming back. According CBS Sports Jon Heyman, Headley turned down a deal between $33 and $39 million for three years cementing his exit.

To make a long story short, Chase wasn’t coming back in 2015. Since the Gyorko deal the Padres have essentially been looking to make a trade.

Breakdown: As stated above, Headley was essentially gone and getting what they did for a player that was hitting .229/.296/.355, and needed a big July to get him to that point, and coming off of a so-so 2013, is not bad; especially when you can convince the Yankees to give up their #15 prospect in DePaula.

Where you can fault the Padres, as 1090’s Darren Smith has on numerous occasions during his afternoon radio program, is that the San Diego brain trust should have been able to come up with a number and a plan on what they were willing to pay Headley after his big 2012 second half. If he accepted it great, if not, then they should have been able to trade him for more than they received today.

David Dodd of the San Diego Reader, who covered the big club for two years, has always believed that former Padres’ General Manager Josh Byrnes did not have complete autonomy in being able to decide if he would or would not deal Headley. Dodd cautions that this is the general impression that he received in being around the club as opposed to any direct reporting.

However, Byrnes past penchant for making the big trade appears to bear out Dodd’s intuition. In 2011, faced with an increasing cost of star pitcher Mat Latos and internal uncertainty about committing to him long-term, pulled the trigger with the Cincinnati Reds which netted him two of the Red’s Top 10 Prospects; Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal, a major league starting pitcher in Edinson Volquez and their #18 prospect, and former first round draft pick, reliever Brad Boxberger.

Regardless of how the trade worked out in the end, at the time it was a quite a haul. It’s hard to imagine that Byrnes, given his past and the relative straight forward calculus of either tying up Headley for a number of years or trading him and moving on, wouldn’t have opted for the same type of deal.

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