It's not that Chase Headley is a poor player, it's just that he was expected to be so much more. Now entering free agency for the first time at the age of 30, the former Padre finds himself looking for a reasonable contract as opposed to the mega-deal he once seemed certain to get. After toiling in relative anonymity in San Diego, Headley burst onto the national scene in 2012, hitting .286/.376/.498 with 31 home runs, a National League-leading 115 RBI and an fWAR of 7.2. He placed fifth in the National League MVP race and also nabbed his first and only Gold Glove for his strong work at third base.
Unfortunately for Headley, it's been a struggle since. In the two seasons since his breakout campaign, he's batted .246/.348/.387 with less combined home runs (26) and RBI (99) than he did in 2012 alone. Unable to sign Headley to an extension, San Diego finally dealt the 2005 second-round pick to the Yankees for Yangervis Solarte and a minor league pitcher on July 22, 2014. The trade seemed to breathe some life into Headley's game, as he hit .262/.371/.398 in 54 games, far better than the .229/.296/.355 line he managed with the Padres. Headley became a mainstay at the hot corner for the Bronx Bombers through the end of the season while playing his customary strong defense, compiling a career-high UZR of 20.9.
With Alex Rodriguez a question mark in his return from a year-long suspension and Mark Teixeira succumbing to a myriad of injuries, the Yankees are reportedly very interested in keeping Headley in the Bronx. It certainly isn't unreasonable to expect him to produce a 3-4 fWAR, but a largely average major league career that now spans seven seasons makes a 2012 repeat quite unlikely. Either way, Headley won't be an option for the Mets who have David Wright entrenched at third base. His ability to play first base could have provided a right-handed platoon partner for Lucas Duda, but the signing of Michael Cuddyer and a price tag that will probably outweigh what he's worth never made him a viable target for general manager Sandy Alderson.