In 2012, New York Yankees third baseman Chase Headley nearly won the National League MVP award as a member of the San Diego Padres when he hit .286 with 31 home runs and 115 RBIs.
Therefore, when the Bronx Bombers traded for him in 2014 and then signed him to a four-year, $52 million deal before the 2015 season, they expected that he’d maintain his status as an offensive force in a great hitter’s park.
But, that hasn’t been the case. Headley is making $13 million this year and is set to make $13 million next year, but entered Thursday night’s game hitting .232 with a .310 on-base percentage, three home runs, 11 doubles and 21 RBIs in 46 games played.
In 400 games as a Yankee, he has hit .254 with just 34 home runs and 151 RBIs in 1,582 plate appearances as of Thursday night.
Therefore, the 33 year old’s days are likely numbered, especially since he has a Wins Above Replacement (WAR) mark of -0.2, which implies that a replacement player would serve the Yankees better than him.
But, the Yankees have a pretty exciting insurance policy for Headley, and he’s progressing through the minor leagues. As part of the Aroldis Chapaman trade with the Cubs last season, New York received young phenom Gleyber Torres, a top shortstop prospect.
At just 20-years-old, Torres was already promoted to Triple-A Scranton Wilkes Barre on May 22 and is reportedly being groomed to take over as the Yankees’ starting third baseman at some point this season, according to Randy Miller of NJ.com.
Headley would be demoted to a utility infield role where he would fill in at third and first when needed. Since Didi Gregorius has emerged as a legitimate shortstop at the Big League level, he will likely man the shortstop spot even after Torres gets called up.
Torres, at 6’1” and 175 pounds, still has time to pack on muscle weight over the next couple of seasons, but his bat cannot be ignored. In 32 games for Double-A Trenton, he hit .273 with a .367 on-base percentage, five home runs, 10 doubles and 18 RBIs. Through his short time in Scranton Wilkes Barre, he has hit only .207, but has an on-base-percentage of .361 with a double and three RBIs.
It's also worth mentioning that he's considered a plus-defender who has the ability to play any infield position.
Therefore, he will be given plenty of at-bats to get going at the Triple-A level before his eventual call-up to the Majors, but it’s worth mentioning that his approach at the plate has been impressive for his age. Combined at both levels this season, he has struck out 30 times but has also drawn 23 walks in 41 games.
Given his versatility to also play second base and shortstop, Torres could be a definite x-factor for the Yankees after the All-Star break and in their possible postseason run.
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