Hal Steinbrenner's "serious goal" is to have the Yankees' payroll fall below the $189 million salary threshold. With that in mind, here at ESPN New York, we are going to examine potential free-agent and trade candidates in a feature we call "Spend Hal's Money."
Candidate: Chase Headley
2013: .250, 13 HRs, 50 RBIs, .747 OPS
SHOULD THE YANKEES SPEND HAL'S MONEY?: The San Diego Padres would trade Headley for the right player package, according to a baseball official familiar with the team's thinking. However, they value Headley and consider him a vital part of their team. Consequently, as the source put it, it would have to be a "compelling" offer.
For 2014, Headley will receive a raise from his nearly $9 million salary, and most teams giving up their top players want prospects who are almost ready for the majors. The Yankees don't have many of those, which would make a trade very difficult.
One of the major failings of the Yankees' minor league system right now is that they don't have the chips for a guy such as Headley. Maybe they could headline a deal with RHP Ivan Nova, but that doesn't make sense because, at the moment, he is their No. 2 starter. Besides Nova, the Yankees don't have many -- any? -- young, controllable, MLB-ready players for the next few years.
Beyond this huge hurdle, Headley would make a lot of sense for the Yankees because of his versatility as both a third baseman and an outfielder. This flexibility would give them a cushion with Alex Rodriguez's suspension and fragility.
Headley finished fifth in the NL MVP voting in 2012 when he hit .286 with 31 homers and 115 RBIs. Those numbers dropped off in 2013. Still, he is the type of guy the Yankees would love to add.
VERDICT: Try to trade for him. How? That's for Brian Cashman to figure out, because I don't exactly see an easy way.