Buster Olney probably doesn’t know it yet, but CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman reports that the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Indians, Orioles, Pirates and at least two other teams have “some level of interest in” Padres third baseman Chase Headley.
The 28-year-old Headley should have been the Padres’ All-Star on merit. He’s hit .271/.373/.421 with eight homers, 42 RBI and 10 steals this season. Last year, he hit .330/.399/.465 outside of Petco Park, and he’s at .275/.378/.471 in road games this year.
The Padres are sure to put a high price on Headley. He’s making a modest $3.475 million this year and probably won’t get much more than $5 million in arbitration next year. He won’t be a free agent until after the 2014 season.
Pittsburgh would certainly be an interesting destination for Headley. The Padres would surely like to get their hands on a couple of the Pirates’ better pitching prospects, and the Pirates would stand to upgrade not only their offense but also their defense by moving Pedro Alvarez to first base.
Alas, he’d probably help the Dodgers more than any other team. Not only have they gotten little out of third base, but Headley has hit .327/.409/.509 in 110 career at-bats at Dodger Stadium.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.