On Monday, Kevin Creagh released the updated trade values for prospects. That was followed by the return of one of the most popular features on the site: the trade values series. Today Kevin looked at Chase Headley, who the Pirates have been linked to in rumors this season. After reading the following recap of Headley, I’d say he seems like the perfect fit for the Pirates:
On the surface, Headley may not seem like much of an improvement for the Pirates, as his triple slash line is .261/.372/.416 (788 OPS) with only 7 home runs this season. However, Headley’s numbers have been suppressed by the cavernous Petco Park for the Padres. His home splits for 2012 (.250/.363/.363, 726 OPS) versus his road splits for 2012 (.272/.382/.474, 856 OPS) are in line with his divergent career home/road splits (664 OPS at home, 810 OPS on road). Headley seems like a player ready to explode if he gets into a hitting environment even relatively close to neutral.
The switch-hitting Headley has hit 2/3 of his career home runs as a left-handed batter, so the shorter porch at PNC Park would cater well to that trend. Headley also brings something that is sorely lacking among Pirate hitters: plate patience. Headley’s 2012 on-base percentage of .372 would be 2nd on the Pirates behind Andrew McCutchen’s .382 mark. Even using Headley’s career OBP rate of .346 would still place him 2nd ahead of Casey McGehee’s .333 OBP in 2012. In fact, I would advocate that if Headley were to be obtained he should be installed as the leadoff hitter, but that idea may be a little too unorthodox right out of the gate.
Just to check off items from the list:
**The Pirates need offense, and Headley puts up good offensive numbers outside of Petco Park.
**The Pirates could definitely use another option at third base in the event that the recent hot streak from Pedro Alvarez doesn’t last.
**Headley is better as a left-handed hitter, which fits well with PNC Park.
**He gets on base at a great rate, which is an area where the Pirates are weak.
**He’s under control for multiple years, so giving up prospects wouldn’t just be for a rental.
I don’t think the Padres would have any interest in some of the top trade chips the Pirates have, which would be their major league bullpen arms. I’m not sure if I’d deal one of the top pitching prospects for a guy like Headley. I don’t even know if I’d deal Starling Marte. That seems counter productive, since the Pirates not only have short-term offensive needs, but also long-term needs. Marte is close to helping them with those long-term needs.
Headley has some potential to be a good addition. But because he’s not a guarantee, and most of his potential value comes from his home/road splits, I’m not sure I’d give up any of the top seven prospects in the system for him (the top 20 list can be seen here). Outside of that, I’d give any three prospects to land Headley.
Links and Notes
**The Pirates beat the Twins 7-2. Kristy Robinson’s notebook looks at how the offense has remained hot.
**Prospect Watch: Jameson Taillon finally has a dominant start, breaking his string of six straight poor outings.
**My player notes from the State College home opener, with a focus on Joely Rodriguez and the first impressions of the new draft picks.
**The Pirates officially announced three draft signings, and created more flexibility with the bonus pool.
**Speaking of trades, the Pirates are engaging clubs in trade talks, but the market is slow right now.
Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.