The New York Yankees have a new third baseman in town and this one comes at the right time.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Yanks acquired third baseman Chase Headley and cash from the San Diego Padres for infielder Yangervis Solarte and pitching prospect Rafael De Paula.
The cash is to help pay a quarter of the $4 million left on Headley’s last year of his contract, which means the new Yank is a free agent after the season unless his new team offers him a contract extension.
Yankee problems at third base
Now, why the sudden acquisition by New York? Well, they need a third baseman. Real bad.
The Yanks have had a few issues at third baseman for most of the 2014 season.
Their usual starting third baseman Alex Rodriguez is suspended all of the 2014 season (PED issues), Kelly Johnson isn’t producing the way the Yanks hoped he would, and a handful of minor leaguers who came up to the majors (Zelous Wheeler and Scott Sizemore) have had to fill the void a couple times.
Johnson has been the major downfall at that position, hitting .223 with 6 homers and 22 runs batted in. Not to mention, third base isn’t Johnson’s natural position, with second base the majority of his defensive position.
It makes sense for the Yankees to bring in a guy like Chase Headley, who isn’t having the season in 2014 (.229 BA, 7 HR, 32 RBI) he had in the 2012 season (.286 BA, 31 HR, 115 RBI) but is still the essential third baseman New York is looking for.
Plus, the Yankees have been eyeing Headley for a couple seasons to take the hot corner due to the fact that A-Rod is “unavailable” to take it at the moment.
The downside for New York for their deal with the Padres, however, is letting go Solarte and a pitching prized jewel. Solarte also took a portion of the third base duties and De Paula had some promise coming up through the minor league on his way to pitching in pinstripes.
So who wins?
In reality, both teams in the trade are winners with the Yanks landing a quality veteran and a player who was the essential leader on a struggling Padres team.
The Padres in return have a reliable utility infielder (Solarte) to add to their roster and a guy in De Paula that is an addition to a pitching staff that has been the strong point in San Diego since manager Bud Black has been at the helm.
Chase Headley can fit well into the revamped Yankees lineup and with him being a switch hitter he can take advantage of the short porch in right field at Yankee stadium.
Headley, when he bats on lefty, is a much better hitter (.235 BA, 4 HR, 27 RBI) than when he hits righty (.212 BA, 3 HR, 5 RBI).
Also, the month of July is heating up Headley’s bat: .323 BA, a home run and nine runs batted in this month.
Headley can bring a surprising impact to the table for the Yanks, and with the American League East wide open anything can happen with teams gearing up for a potential playoff push.
With the problem seemingly solved at third base for New York, there's no wondering what this team can accomplish.