When the Yankees acquired Chase Headley from the Padres back in 2014, Brian Cashman knew that the team wouldn’t be getting the 2012 version who hit 31 home runs with 145 wRC+. They just needed a serviceable third baseman. After three full seasons with the Yankees, Headley has been just that: fine, but could be better.
Headley had a slow start to the 2016 season, but he came out of the gates swinging in 2017. He slashed .301/.402/.494 with 25 hits in April. May was not kind to him, as reflected by the 14 hits that he mustered through 85 at-bats. Headley started to get back on track in June, and was hitting well by the time July rolled around. In the second half, he hit .300/.366/.455 with eight home runs.
The Yankees had a first base problem this year, and eventually had to turn to Headley to solve it. After an injury forced Greg Bird to spend most of the season on the disabled list, the Yankees struggled to find anyone to fill the position. Chris Carter, Garrett Cooper, Tyler Austin, and Matt Holliday all spent time at first base, but none of them lasted long, either due to performance or injury. Even Austin Romine and Bryan Mitchell played first this year. The Yankees knew that something had to give, so they acquired Todd Frazier from the White Sox. That move allowed the Yankees to shift Headley over to first base while Bird healed.
After Bird returned, Headley was moved to a part-time DH role for the last few weeks of the season. He also filled that role during the postseason. Headley sat out the Wild Card game, and went hitless in the ALDS through 12 at-bats. Between Jacoby Ellsbury and Headley, it’s amazing that the Yankees were able to advance without getting any production from their designated hitters. Headley did turn things around during the ALCS, picking up seven hits and driving in a run.
2018 is the last year on Headley’s four-year, $52 million contract, but it is possible that he won’t be with the Yankees next season. Brian Cashman has already indicated that he is in no hurry to rush Gleyber Torres back from injury, which means that Torres will likely begin the year in Triple-A. That leaves Headley at third base for now, unless the Yankees decide to do something unexpected like sign Mike Moustakas. I’m sure Cashman will see if there is any interest in Headley, especially if someone like Todd Frazier would be willing to take a one-year deal. However, in all likelihood, we’ll see Headley back in pinstripes for one final year.