Padres third baseman Chase Headley will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration going into the 2014 season, after which he would become eligible for free agency. For quite some time, the Padres have been reported as either shopping Headley or guarding him closely with plans to offer him a contract extension. As of now, nothing has happened.
In part due to Headley, the entire Padre infield has been the source of a great deal of production as first baseman Yonder Alonso, second baseman Jedd Gyorko, and shortstop Everth Cabrera are also posting above-average offensive numbers. As a result, Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego suggests the Padres should lock up their entire infield:
The team that has time and again sent its homegrown stars away rather than pay them has in the collective handling of its young talent a chance to change course in a grand way.
Ron Fowler, the Seidlers and the O’Malleys need to allow general manager Josh Byrnes to get underway the process of attempting to lock up Alonso, Jedd Gyorko, Everth Cabrera and, of course, Chase Headley.
All of them.
While having the luxury of writing down an entire infield in permanent marker is appealing, it isn’t necessary. Alonso is pre-arb through 2014 and isn’t eligible for free agency until 2017. Gyorko has all of 205 plate appearances at the Major League level so there is no rush to sign any additional paperwork with him. Cabrera is arb-eligible through 2016. Locking up Headley would be a great first step towards solidifying a great infield, but as it pertains to the other three, the Padres don’t need to worry about that for another year and a half at the earliest.