This off-season has wasted little time in moving right along, with big contracts getting dropped on Victor Martinez, Russell Martin, Hanley Ramirez, and Pablo Sandoval before anyone even bought their supplies for Thanksgiving. That's a lot of notable names gone already, but it does not appear Chase Headley will be following a similarly accelerated signing period. It's no secret that the Yankees are interested in bringing their third baseman back after he hit .262/.371/.398 with a 121 wRC+ and terrific defense in 58 games for them after being acquired from the Padres. However, according to Jon Heyman, the Yankees are hesitant to give Headley anything beyond a three-year contract:
The Yankees have signaled a willingness to give free agent third baseman Chase Headley a three-year deal, but with a thin third-base market now that Aramis Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval are off the board, it appears Headley is looking around for something better.
Headley was well liked in the Yankees clubhouse, and it is said that he enjoyed New York much more than he would have expected. But Headley turned down a three-year offer believed to have been for about $39 million from the Padres last spring, and expected to do much better than that. He certainly isn't ready to sign up for less than that for the Yankees at the moment. - CBS Sports
Even before third base candidates Sandoval and Ramirez signed their considerable contacts with the Red Sox, MLB Trade Rumors predicted a four-year, $48 million contract for Headley, and that price tag is likely going up since he is now the best third baseman on the market. The Giants now have a Panda-sized hole at third base, and since the position can be so difficult to fill, it's not hard to imagine other teams reaching out to Headley. This rumor could, of course, just be a smokescreen in the negotiation process. The Yankees are not obligated to tell the media the truth.
One can understand the Yankees' trepidation about inking Headley to a four-year contract. They have numerous high-value multi-year contracts bogging their payroll down at the moment, and even though his bat has been mostly steady since breaking through with the Padres as a rookie in 2008, the herniated disc he suffered early last year in San Diego sent warning flags. Back problems are the bane of ballplayers, as former Yankees captain Don Mattingly can attest, and they are tough to fight through. Headley required a cortisone shot to overcome it this year, and while he did hit much better afterward, one can only take so many cortisone shots.
Nonetheless, the Yankees need a third baseman in 2015, and Headley only turns 31 next May. I've supported bringing Headley back on multiple occasions since relying on Martin Prado to cover third is just asking for trouble if he gets hurt (among other reasons), and while not ideal, it's not as though the high-rolling Yankees are a franchise short on cash to keep Headley. Would a four-year contract be that crazy to potentially lock down a tricky position?