Andrew already has the basics of the four-year, $52M deal. This means Chase Headley will be a Yankee in 2015 (and 2016, 2017, and 2018 too).
That's a commitment only one year shorter than Pablo Sandoval earned, and Sandoval is only going to earn an extra $6M per year. When you're dealing with a payroll in the $200M range, that's a difference of only about three percent. Is Headley (three years older than Sandoval, and with a history of back trouble) really a better investment at $13M than Sandoval at $19M?
Most observers have agreed that the Yankees needed an infielder. That makes prospect Rob Refsnyder an insurance plan rather than a certainty, and if he plays as well in 2015 as he did in 2014, then he has the opportunity to force his way onto the roster. That's always a nice problem to have.
The downside is that the Yankees lose some flexibility in the DH spot. If Alex Rodriguez can play in 2015 (I think he can and will, even if it's at a Jeterian 2014 level), that means that there's fewer DH at bats for Carlos Beltran. If everything goes right for the Yankees, A-Rod might play once a week at first or third, to give Tex and Chase their days off, but it means no "half days" for Beltran. Either Beltran has to hit well enough to put A-Rod on the bench, or Beltran has to sit.
The other real downside is that the Yankees have once again invested heavily in a player who is already in decline. Headley's last three seasons of wRC+ have been 145, 114, 103. That's the part I think most Yankee fans forgot watching Headley play in his partial season with the Yanks: Headley was below average offensively for the majority of 2014. He might have found a new focus playing meaningful games with the Yankees, and Yankee Stadium's short porch may have provided him with the elixir of youth. Or maybe, he had a great couple of months with the Yankees, just like Alfonso Soriano did at the end of 2013, just like Vernon Wells did at the beginning of 2013, just like Mark Teixeira did at the start of 2014.
Obviously, Headley brings value on the defensive side of the ball that Soriano could not, but if the Soriano comparison is the best one, then the Yankees are investing a lot of money just to be a mediocre ball club. Mediocre ball clubs can win the World Series- just ask the Giants. But they require a lot of investment without a lot of certainty, and Yankee fans have gotten used to buy certainty from the free agent market.
What do you think? Rate the deal in the poll below and tell me what you think in the comments.