After more than a year of frequent trade rumors the Padres have finally dealt Chase Headley, as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that they’re sending the 30-year-old impending free agent third baseman to the Yankees.
Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News says the Padres will receive infielder Yangervis Solarte and right-hander Rafael De Paula in exchange for Headley. Solarte was signed as a minor-league free agent and De Paula is a 23-year-old Single-A pitcher who’s not considered a top prospect (although he does have a big strikeout rate).
Two seasons ago Headley smacked 31 homers, led the league in RBIs, and finished fifth in the MVP balloting, but his production plummeted last season and this year he’s been mostly injured and ineffective while hitting ..229 with seven homers and a .651 OPS in 77 games. However, he’s shown some signs of life this month and given the minimal talent price tag the Yankees aren’t taking much of a risk in acquiring him when the in-house alternatives for them at third base were guys like Solarte and Zelous Wheeler.
San Diego missed an opportunity to cash in Headley for huge value following the 2012 season and now they’re simply getting a modest return for him instead of letting him walk for nothing as a free agent in three months. Keeping him and then making him a qualifying offer was another option for the Padres and would have fetched them a draft pick if he signed elsewhere, but clearly they didn’t want to risk Headley simply accepting a one-year, $14 million deal to return in 2015. New York is not eligible to make him a qualifying offer.
Athletics president Dave Kaval is ready to take full advantage of the interleague series between the Giants and A’s this season. While the two teams customarily play a few preseason “Battle of the Bay” games each year, they’re also scheduled to meet each other six times during the regular season; once for a three-game set in San Francisco, then for a three-game set in Oakland. On Saturday, Kaval announced that any Giants fans looking to park at the Coliseum this year will be charged $50 instead of the standard, general admission $30 — an additional “rivalry fee” that can be easily waived by shouting, “Go A’s!” at the gate.
This isn’t the first time that a major-league team has tried to keep rival fans at bay, though Kaval doesn’t seem all that intent on actually driving fans away from the ballpark. Back in 2012, the Nationals staged a “Take Back the Park” campaign after people began complaining that Phillies fans were overtaking Nationals Park during rivalry games. They limited a single-series presale of Nats-Phillies tickets to buyers within Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia in hopes of filling the stands with a few more friendly faces. Washington COO Andy Feffer told the press that while he would treat all guests with “respect and courtesy,” he wanted Phillies fans to feel irked enough to pay attention to the Nationals. In the end, things went… well, a little south for all involved.
Whether the Giants are planning any retaliatory measures has yet to be seen, but it’s not as if this is going to be an enforceable rule. The real travesty here, if you’re an A’s fan or just pretending to be one, is that the parking fees have increased from $20 to $30 this season. Unless you’re a season ticket holder with a prepaid $10 parking permit, it’s far better to brave the crowds and take advantage of local public transportation. There are bound to be far fewer irate Giants fans on BART than at the gates — even if the gag only lasts a few days out of the year.