The New York Yankees have acquired third baseman Chase Headley from the San Diego Padres in exchange for infielder Yangervis Solarte and Rafael De Paula, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports first reported on Tuesday. The Padres will also be paying the Yankees $1 million in cash.
The 30-year-old Headley was close to being dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays back on July 6th, but after a deal that was deemed close fell through, the Jays never really were close to getting Headley again. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports did report that the Blue Jays were still in talks with the Padres over Headley on July 19th, but it seems now that the teams could never get a deal done.
On the season, Headley is hitting a triple-slash line of .229/.296/.355 with only seven home runs, 32 runs batted in, and a 1.6 fWAR. He has an 88 wRC+ (weighted runs created plus), which is the lowest total of his career (minimum 350 plate appearances). However, it was just two years ago when Headley seemed to break out, hitting 31 bolts with 115 RBI, which lead the National League. His OPS was .875. Since the 2012 season closed, however, Headley was a completely different player. In 218 games since, Headley has just 20 home runs and 82 runs batted in, to go along with a .714 OPS.
The Yankees may have overpaid just a bit to get a veteran who is a free agent at the end of the season. Headley was arbitration-eligible for the final time prior to this season, in which he signed a one-year, $10.35 million contract with the Padres. But after this year, he becomes a free agent, which really added to the urge for the Padres to go ahead and deal Headley. And they get a nice return for him.
The Padres will be receiving Yangervis Solarte. The 27-year-old Solarte was signed by the Minnesota Twins as an amateur free agent back in 2005, and has had to work his way through their system, the Rangers system, and now the Yankees system before getting his chance in the major leagues. Solarte started off the season hot, posting a .303/.404/.461 slash-line in the month of April. However, his .349 BaBIP suggested that he would regress. Since that time, Solarte has a .233/.307/.347 slash-line with a very low .237 BaBIP, suggesting that he will get better.
Overall, on the season, Solarte is hitting a .254/.337/.381 slash-line with six home runs and 31 runs batted in. Something positive from Solarte's performance is his walk rate. Solarte walks in 10.4 percent of his plate appearances, thus he has a high on-base percentage. The goal of baseball is to get on base and score runs, so Solarte is underrated in that sense. On the year, he has a 0.9 fWAR.
The diamond in the rough the Padres may have just acquired is righty Rafael De Paula. As pointed out by former Yankees prospect (now with the Cubs) Corey Black, De Paula was just in the 2013 Futures Game and still has a chance to be a good starter in the future. However, the 23-year-old is still in High Single-A, where he has a 6-5 record with a 4.15 ERA and a 3.34 FIP. De Paula was not ranked on the Yankees' top prospect list (via MLB.com).
In Yankee Stadium, Headley may be able to return to his power-hitting ways and lead the Yankees to a postseason spot. A change of scenery could be fantastic for him, but a quiet guy like Headley might be rattled by all the pressure of New York. Nonetheless, he is headed there, as the Padres have just dealt the 30-year-old third baseman to the New York Yankees.