Headley trade would prompt breakout

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - With daily sunshine and a carefree populace, San Diego must be an uplifting place to call home.

Unless you're Chase Headley.

The Padres third baseman has been a solid fantasy contributor in his career -- double-digit homers in three of the last four seasons and double-digit steals in four straight -- but he has potential for greater returns. He just has to get away from Southern California; specifically, San Diego's black hole of a ballpark.

The difference between Headley's home and road statistics is startling, and the sample size is large enough that we can realistically expect the third baseman to dramatically improve with a change of scenery.

This season has been Headley's best -- he's already tied his career high in home runs and should easily surpass his highs in RBIs and steals even if he isn't dealt by the Padres. However, most of his production has come on the road, where Headley is hitting .277 with nine homers, 27 RBIs, nine steals and an .864 OPS in 51 games. At Petco Park, Headley has a .258 average, three homers, 24 RBIs, two steals and a .709 OPS in 51 games.

Headley's home park struggles aren't unique to this season. This has been a trend his entire career.

In 315 home games, Headley is a .235 hitter with 18 homers, 112 RBIs, 24 steals and a .664 OPS. If the Padres third baseman played like that everywhere, he might not be in the league at this point. However, he is a far advanced ballplayer on the road. In 316 road games, Headley is hitting .299 with 30 homers, 143 RBIs, 30 steals and an .814 OPS.

With Headley on the trade market and two days remaining until the non-waiver deadline, his extreme splits cannot be ignored. Though his chances of being traded decrease with each passing hour, as long as the possibility that he will end up elsewhere still exists fantasy owners must act.

Away from the spacious confines of Petco Park, Headley has potential to post top 10 numbers at the third base position. If you aren't fortunate enough to own an elite bat -- Miguel Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion, David Wright, Mark Trumbo, Jose Bautista, Adrian Beltre, David Freese, Ryan Zimmerman or Hanley Ramirez -- at the hot corner, or if you utilize the multi-position eligible Cabrera, Encarnacion, Trumbo, Bautista or Ramirez at another spot, Headley should be a target.

Even if the Padres decide to wait until the offseason to trade Headley, the third baseman has proven over 300-plus big league road games that he is a talented and multi-faceted fantasy contributor so acquiring him now wouldn't be a worthless exercise.

This season, Headley is one of five third basemen with double-digit homers and steals. Among those players, one (Alex Rodriguez) is out 6-8 weeks with a broken hand and the other (Mike Aviles) is a fringe shortstop option at best in deeper mixed leagues rather than a viable third base option. Because of this, Headley has upside even if he remains in San Diego.

And if he just so happens to escape from San Diego by the trade deadline, you'll have yourself a potential difference maker on your roster for the stretch run.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.

The Sports Network, a STATS Company. All Rights Reserved.  home | terms of use | privacy policy | comments | SportsNetworkdata.com