Headley on extension: “I just don’t think it was ever the right time.”
You might have read a report Tuesday that, according to sources, the Padres made a run at signing third baseman Chase Headley to a contract extension over the winter, a proposed deal between $33-$39 million.
Obviously, no deal was ever struck, nor can we say for sure this was ever truly offered. Too many unknowns, too many people wishing to stay mum on the topic.
But Headley told me in a long interview at the end of Spring Training — you can read the story here — that there’s no hard feelings that his representation and the team couldn’t strike a deal.
“We have a good relationship with the front office, everything has been cordial. We both have an idea where the other is,” Headley said. “I think that it’s all about timing. With the ownership changes we’ve have had, I just don’t think it was ever the right time. It’s no one’s fault.”
There was, he said, sizable differences between what the team and what Headley were looking for in a long-term deal.
“I think there was some differences in both. There’s enough ground in between us to where it wasn’t going to work out right now. We understood what they were saying, and they understood what we were saying. We just couldn’t find that common ground,” he said.
I asked Headley — a homegrown player who has never played for another organization — if he thought he would/will be a Padre for the rest of his playing career.
“You understand that it’s part of the game and guys come and go. In a perfect world, you’d like to keep more guys than we have since I’ve been here,” Headley said. “And I think that’s the direction it’s going [in San Diego]. I think that’s what they want to create moving forward, more continuity. But it [change] happens when you have a bunch of philosophy changes and changes in ownership.”
So what happens now?
— Do the Padres trade Headley before the non-waiver deadline (July 31)?
— Do they hope he rebounds and then make him a qualifying offer after the season with the thought he’ll test free agency, sign elsewhere and they can add an additional draft pick?
— Do they make a run at him in terms of a deal following the season?
Headley said that at some point, someone is going to take that qualifying offer, which could be north of $15 million. To date, no one has taken the QO. Headley, for one, doesn’t believe draft pick compensation should be tied to the QO.
“We weighed that [in talking with the Padres] and it’s not a great system for the player,” Headley said. “You have to play six full seasons just to get to free agency. The average Major League career is not six years long. When you get to that point in your career, I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to have this one shot at free agency affected by that [qualifying offer]. At some point, someone is going to take one of those.
“It’s not a bad way to go. That’s a pretty big number for one year.”
— Corey Brock