Blue Jays trade rumors: Toronto showing interest in Chase Headley

Denis Poroy

The Padres third baseman is likely to be moved this summer, and the Blue Jays figure to be in play for the impending free agent.

Earlier today, it was reported that the Toronto Blue Jays are exploring the market for infielders, and it now appears that Chase Headley is among their targets. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune's Jeff Sanders, the trade market for Headley "is beginning to take shape," and the AL East leading Blue Jays are one of the clubs showing interest in the 30-year-old Padres third baseman.

Adding Headley would make quite a bit of sense for the Blue Jays, who are currently shorthanded because of injuries to outfielder Jose Bautista and regular third baseman Brett Lawrie. In the event of Headley's addition, Lawrie (assuming he's healthy) would likely move to second base full-time (or at least for the remainder of the season), which would solve Toronto's keystone issues. The Blue Jays have been using Juan Francisco at third base quite a bit this season (with Lawrie playing second), and he has hit well, posting a 124 OPS+ with 12 home runs in 191 plate appearances. However, Francisco has a .422 career OPS against lefties and is a negative asset on defense. He's also struggled over the last month, hitting just .164/.215/.377 in June.

Headley's performance has been in a downward spiral since breaking out with a 145 wRC+, 7.2 WAR season in 2012. After putting up a respectable 113 wRC+ and 3.5 WAR last season, he has been absolutely horrible this year, hitting .199/.286/.328 with a 79 wRC+ and .280 wOBA, though his defense has been good enough to put up a 0.7 WAR. Any team acquiring Headley is obviously hoping he rebounds (he is suffering from a .239 BABIP), and it's unlikely that he costs much more than a mid-level prospect due to his performance and roughly $6 million salary the rest of the way.

Headley has been dealing with a herniated disc that required an epidural last week and cost him four game, which may ultimately delay any trade as teams look to see how he recovers over the next couple weeks. He has also missed time due to a variety of other health issues this season, including a sore left knee, strained biceps, and two calf strains.

With Headley's stock near rock-bottom, the Padres may decide against selling low on the former MVP candidate and impending free agent. Instead, they could retain him for the rest of the season and offer a qualifying offer following the season. This would be a win-win for San Diego, as they would receive a draft pick if he signs elsewhere, and if he accepts the offer, it gives the Padres the opportunity to allow Headley to boost his stock on a low-risk, high-reward one-year deal. Of course, this is purely speculation on my part.

While the Padres are currently without a general manager after Josh Byrnes' recent firing, that doesn't appear to be an obstacle, as the club is reportedly open for business on everyone except right-hander Andrew Cashner.

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