Yankees acquire Chase Headley from Padres

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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.

There is a “one million percent” chance Aroldis Champan will opt-out of his deal

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that there is a “one million percent” chance Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will opt out once the season ends.

Just going by the math this makes perfect sense, of course.

Chapman signed a five-year, $86 million deal with the Yankees before the 2017 season. Pursuant to the terms of the deal he’ll make $15 million a year in 2020 and 2021 (he was given an $11 million signing bonus that was finished being paid out last year). This past season the qualifying offer was $17.9 million. Craig Kimbrel of the Cubs just signed a deal that will pay him $16 million in 2020, 2021, and 2022 (he’s making a prorated $16 million this year). Other top closer salaries at the moment include Kenley Jansen ($19,333,334); and Wade Davis ($18 million).

It’s fair to say that Chapman fits into that group and, I think it’s safe to say, more teams would take him than those guys if they were all freely available. As such, Chapman opting out to get more money makes all kinds of sense. Heck, opting out, getting slapped with a qualifying offer, accepting it and then hitting the market unencumbered after the 2020 season would stand him in better financial stead than if he didn’t opt-out in the first place.

The question is whether the Yankees will let it get that far or whether they’ll approach him to renegotiate the final couple of years on the deal or to add some years onto the back of it. If they’re smart they will.