San Diego Padres officials have said for weeks that they don’t have to trade third baseman Chase Headley. And they’re right: Headley isn’t scheduled to become a free agent until after the 2014 season.
Recently, though, interest in Headley has increased to the point that the Padres may receive an offer too tempting to pass up.
The Orioles, Indians, Pirates and Athletics are among the teams that have spoken with the Padres about Headley, and now the Yankees are lurking after the injury to third baseman Alex Rodriguez, major-league sources say. Headley, who has a career-high .784 OPS in 100 games this season, could move to the outfield once A-Rod returns if he is dealt to New York.
Another reason for the Yankees to want Headley: Right fielder Nick Swisher will become a free agent after the season, and Headley could replace him next year — at a salary that is less than what Swisher could command on the open market. That’s particularly appealing to the Yankees at a time when the organization is trying to cut payroll and avoid baseball’s luxury tax.
Headley, a switch hitter, alternatively could satisfy Pittsburgh’s need for a corner bat. The Pirates are trying to make a second major acquisition this season, after dealing for left-handed starter Wandy Rodriguez. With Justin Upton likely remaining in Arizona, the Pirates’ best remaining options appear to be Headley and Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino.
Pittsburgh right-hander Brad Lincoln — 4-2 with a 2.78 ERA in 27 games (five starts) — has been mentioned in the Pirates’ trade conversations for both Headley and Victorino, sources say.
The Pirates may face competition from within the division to acquire Victorino: The Reds, looking for an outfield bat and leadoff hitter, are known to have interest in Victorino, as well.
— Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi