Chase Headley had one amazing season in his career. In 2012, he hit .286 with 31 homers and 115 RBIs. He was fifth in the NL MVP voting and won a Gold Glove.
If you take out that season, he has never hit more than 13 homers. The most runs he has driven in a year, besides the '12 anomaly, is 64. His career OPS is .756, or 13 points fewer than Martin Prado.
Plus, he has a bad back.
As an AL scout put it, signing Headley to a long and lucrative contract is "risky business."
The Yankees know this, which is why they don't sound like they will go five years for Headley. Personally, I'm not sure I would go four.
The problem is, of course, there aren't enough good players to fill out every roster. So if you pass on Headley, then you might be left with Prado at third and rookies Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela fighting it out for Robinson Cano's old spot at second.
The Yankees could make a trade or sign someone like Jed Lowrie. The Yankees showed no interest in Lowrie a couple of years ago when the Astros were looking to trade him. He eventually went to the A's. Lowrie can play second and short. So maybe the Yanks' opinion of him has changed.
Headley has some numbers that work in his favor. His Win Above Replacement (3.5) was the 10th best among all third baseman in 2014, a tad better than Evan Longoria and Pablo Sandoval. His OPS was .700, which is not that impressive, but was 16th among third baseman in '14.
Headley, 30, plays a strong third base. He is a tough guy who quickly returned at the end of last year after taking a fastball on the chin.
But if you sign him, you can't expect him to play better in the future than he has shown in the past. You can't fool yourself into thinking that with age he will be more durable.
So, yes, he was a nice pickup in '14, but there was a reason he was available for Yangervis Solarte, who besides two nice months had been a career minor leaguer.
And, by the way, after the trade to San Diego, Solarte's numbers with the Padres in 56 games were .267 with four homers and 17 RBIs. With the Yankees, Headley, in 58 games, hit .252 with six homers and 17 RBIs. Headley played to what -- excluding '11 -- seems to be his skill level.
So if you sign Headley, you have to know you are not getting the '12 Headley. You are picking up a solid, but far from spectacular, player.