Two seasons ago, Chase Headley seemed to reach the top of his market value after hitting 31 home runs, leading the league with 115 RBIs and finishing fifth in the MVP voting, while garnering Silver Slugger and Golden Glove honors.
Now, more than a year and 654 plate appearances later, in which he accumulated only 14 home runs and 54 RBIs, Headley entered a contract year in dispute with the organization in regards to his financial worth.
Earlier the week, Jon Heyman, baseball insider of CBS Sports reported that the Padres offered Headley a three-year contract extension for an amount between $33 million and $39 million.
Additionally, according to Corey Brock, on an MLB Pro Blog, there were big differences between what the Padres and Headley were looking for in a deal.
Had Headley, who came into the 2014 season ranked among the highest paid third basemen in baseball at a little more than $10 million a year, accepted the contract, he potentially could have become the fifth highest paid third baseman in baseball.
However, he has not played like a player who deserves such a salary. Statistically speaking, throughout his entire career, Headley has not proven that he is the player that hit 19 home runs and knocked in 61 RBIs in August and September 2012.
In fact, such totals through two months in 2012 would have been more home runs Headley has hit in any other season, and the most RBIs he would have hit in any season except 2009. The next best totals for home runs and RBIs came in 2013, with 13 home runs and 2009, with 64 RBIs respectively.
So far, through the Padres’ first 17 games if this season, Headley has played 14 games due to a recent issue with his biceps, and has hit for a .176 average, one home run and four RBIs through 51 at bats, and this much can be clear; the contract dispute is a distraction, and it is doing more harm than good.
It is a possibility that Headley may not be a Padre for much longer, especially if the two parties remain distant with the fiscal numbers. But with some of the prospects rising through the Minor League system, the Padres may have a little more flexibility than normal.