Chase Headley’s breakout season led to speculation about whether the Padres would try to sign the third baseman to a long-term contract extension, but it doesn’t sound likely anytime soon.
Headley is under contract through 2014 and Corey Brock of MLB.com reports that “no discussions have taken place to date.”
Headley has always been a very solid all-around player whose raw offensive numbers were deflated by calling Petco Park home. That all changed this year as he hit .286 with 31 homers and an .875 OPS while leading the NL with 115 RBIs and the switch-hitter will benefit from the Padres moving in the fences for 2013.
While the two sides apparently aren’t engaging in extension talks general manager Josh Byrnes did stress that the Padres aren’t looking to trade Headley, saying: “I think people know we’re not going to move him.”
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.