The Yankees trade of Brian McCann to the Astros was not a surprising move. The dynamic debut of Gary Sanchez made the veteran catcher expendable, and New York was able to get two pitching prospects for him. It would seem logical that the Yankees are now in need of some veteran back-up catching, and the Brewers might just have someone available for them.
It is also being reported on Pinstripe Alley that the Yankees are interested in moving third baseman Chase Headley. Headley has two years remaining on his four year deal with the Yankees, and is owed $26 million. While he hasn’t been all that the Yankees hoped he would be, let’s take a look at what it might take to bring the switch-hitter to Milwaukee for a chance to rejuvenate his status heading into FA in 2019.
Headley has never approached his break-out season of 2012 in San Diego, when he had an OPS of .875 with 31 homers and 115 RBI. His OPS has hovered between .693 and .747 since, and his homers have gone 13, 13, 13, 11, 14. Perhaps not the consistency one would want. But, oh, that 2012 season...he finished 5th in MVP voting and won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger award.
Headley generally posts a good UZR rating and isn’t prone to too many errors. His acquisition would give the Brewers the opportunity to move Jonathan Villar to second base and improve the over-all defense of the infield. That would also allow the Brewers to move Scooter Gennett, if a suitable trade partner could be found. It might limit the chances available for Hernan Perez, but these things tend to work themselves out.
So what would the Yankees get in return for Headley? I’m offering Martin Maldonado (see paragraph one) and Jimmy Nelson. Nelson is scheduled to make $522,000 in ‘17 and then has three arb years. Maldonado is due about $1.6 mil in arbitration this year. The Yankees would save quite a bit of money with the deal - which isn’t that big a deal for them, but it never hurts. While this would be more expensive for Milwaukee than signing Luis Valbuena, they can afford it for two years and I like Headley’s versatility over Valbuena. The trade would give the Yankees their back-up catcher, and a good one. It would give both teams reclamation projects, with a past record of success to entice both teams to dreams of All Stars and wins.
What would the Yankees do at third base? Not that I really care, but the article cited above gives a few options. It seems the Yankees aren’t especially concerned, and they have some options coming up in the next few years that could end up at third.
I love me some switch hitters...having one at the top of the line-up and one in the six spot would really give the Brewers some versatility. Headley has played some first base and left field, so there would be other options available for line-up adjustments.
What say you?
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs