If there is an infielder available on the market, the Toronto Blue Jays are tied to them in some way, shape, or form. With that said, it should go without shock that the Blue Jays are kicking the tires in regards to acquiring third baseman Chase Headley from the San Diego Padres.
However, it is a bit interesting that the Toronto media was scooped by the San Diego press in regards to the Jays interest.
Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union Tribune notes that “multiple baseball sources have confirmed” that Toronto is indeed interested in the Padres’ third baseman and will have a heavy scouting presence over the weekend, when the Padres host the Arizona Dimanondbacks.
The 30-year-old Headley is in the midst of a second-consecutive down year, slashing a miserable .199/.286/.328 with a wRC+ of just 79. Coupled with a herniated disc in his back and two calf strains earlier this season, the former of which Sanders reported required an epidural shot earlier this week, has hurt his stock, both on the trade market and as an impending free agent.
That’s good news for the Blue Jays, as reports indicate that the Padres won’t require the blockbuster deal that they would have previously sought, which makes the three month rental on such a player much more attractive.
If he can prove to be healthy, Headley is just two seasons removed from a 5th place finish in the National League MVP voting, when he put up a 7.2 WAR and 145 wRC+ season in 2012, despite playing half his games at spacious Petco Park. Any team taking a chance on Headley is assuming that removing him from the dead ball era in a ballpark and putting him in an American League environment will do him wonders, at least in terms of numbers.
Defensively, a healthy Headley is a solid win for the Jays. Despite his calf and back issues, Headley has still shown excellent range, as evidenced by his 13.6 UZR/150.
An acquisition of Headley would be a short-term answer to the team’s issues at second base, as it would allow Brett Lawrie (once he is off the DL) to slide over to second base for the remainder of the season. The team could also coddle Headley’s back issues a bit by platooning him at DH versus left-handed pitchers, sliding Lawrie back to third and utilizing Steve Tolleson at second.
Still, the Jays will do their due diligence before swinging a deal of any kind. Headley’s health will be the true indicator of any intention here, but at the very least, we have a new angle to watch.