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Yankees sign Chase Headley and get a bargain

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The four-year, $52 million contract for Headley might seem like much, but it's a really good deal.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

I have been screaming from the mountaintops that the Yankees should absolutely re-sign Chase Headley. We have seen a Yankees infield that was absolutely in shambles for the past couple of years--just absolutely dreadful. And for the first time since 2012, this is one that you can actually squint your eyes and say that it's pretty solid.

I'm an unabashed fan of Headley. After trading Rafael De Paula and Yangervis Solarte for the third baseman at the trade deadline, Headley hit an incredibly competent .262/.371/.398 (121 wRC+) while providing stellar defense over the course of 58 games. And if you believe in his defensive metrics, then he was one of the most valuable third baseman over the second half of last year.

There are obvious concerns, of course. Headley is going into his age-31 season with a defense-first profile, and we know that defense can peak early. If he doesn't hit and his defense falls off, it could be problematic. But even if it does, this deal isn't large enough for it to go very poorly. There's still the chance he hits poorly but still provides a lot of defensive value, so the floor of his performance is decently high. Additionally, as many of us saw in 2012, there are times where he can show flashes of an elite offensive player.

Jon Heyman has just reported that the deal will be four years and $52 million, and that is an incredibly good deal. Nick Markakis got four years and $44 million as an older, inferior player, and the Braves were well aware that he would get surgery on a bulging disk in his neck. Pablo Sandoval just got five years and $95 million, and while Sandoval is certainly younger, here is how he and Headley have compared since 2009:

sandoval_headley

Even if we're inclined to regress Headley's defensive numbers, I would not go as far to say that he is worth half of Sandoval. I don't necessarily think that Sandoval's or Markakis' contracts, for example, are poor deals, it's just that in a free agent class and run environment where decent bats and position players are so heavily valued, it's unbelievable to think that Headley would get such a deal.

There were rumblings that a team offered Headley $65 million, and I guess we can say that that's bunk now. Considering the inflation we have seen in the market these days, $13 million a year for a solid, everyday third baseman is beyond reasonable.