It is widely known that Indians GM Chris Antonetti is out seeking ways to improve his club now and in the future. The whispers are that the Tribe has made several claims on players who other teams have put out as available since the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline. The waivers are revocable, which means that should the Indians claim someone, the other team has the right to pull them back or try to work out a deal with them in a 48-hour window.
Amost every player is put on waivers. Usually the guys who actually get through without being claimed are either not worth it or are in the middle of Travis Hafner-esque noose-around-the-organizational-neck type contracts. We’ve heard the names Justin Morneau, Adam Dunn, and Paul Konerko as guys that could be available. Alex Rios was already shipped to Texas.
It is also no secret that the Indians do not have a cleanup hitter and really could use another big power bat in the middle of their order. Mark Reynolds was once that guy until he forgot how to hit. The top priority of the offseason will more than likely be a search for a true thumper that can be counted on. The front office will also have to take a long look at third base. They will have to decide if Lonnie Chisenhall is the answer at the hot corner both long and short term. If they are judging by what they have seen for most of 2013, then you would have to think that if the right option outside of the organization presented itself, Antonetti wouldn’t hesitate to make a change.
Well, according to CBSSports.com writer, an intriguing option has just hit waivers – San Diego’s Chase Headley.
Headley is in the middle of a poor season. Consider him the Padres version of Asdrubal Cabrera. A lot was expected of him coming off a .286/.376/.498/31 HR/ 115 RBI year and there was lots of talk of San Diego wanting to extend their switch-hitting cleanup man. No deal every came about and Headley became a hot commodity on the trade market this past winter. The Padres decided to hold onto him. Like with Asdrubal and the Tribe they may have missed their best chance at grabbing peak value for the power hitting third baseman.
His down 2013 campaign – 472 AB/.237/.328/.368/8 HR/35 RBI – has mirrored Cabrera’s. Headley started the season on the disabled list because of a broken thumb sustained in Spring Training. After missing a month, he never seemed to regain his 2012 form. Headley had always been a top prospect who the Padres were waiting on to “get it” and he finally did a season ago. Before that, he was just an average player, almost Chisenhall-like. So was his 2012 season the aberration?
Headley is a hot corner man with power, which seems to be more and more rare these days, and was coveted this offseason by the likes of the Yankees, Dodgers, and the Indians. If we knew the 2012 version was just around the corner, wouldn’t you bite and attempt to work out a deal with the Padres? Headley is 29 years old, makes $8.5 million this year and is super-two arbitration eligible after this season. He will be in his big contract year in 2014, out to prove that this season was just a blip. If the Indians aren’t sold on Chisenhall, who hasn’t proved anything as of yet in his extended audition in Cleveland, then they have to go and get a third baseman this winter regardless. There is no internal option for 2014 on the come. That is why Chisenhall’s struggles are very disconcerting.
It is very possible that the Padres will ask for the moon for Headley, making this point completely moot, but I look at it this way. If the Indians didn’t have to send one of their top tier prospects (i.e. Danny Salazar, Francisco Lindor, Clint Frazier, Dorsys Paulino) to get Headley then they would have to strongly consider taking a chance on Chase. Consider him a guy on a one-year deal for 2014 with a bonus month to boot. Despite his homer on Monday night, Chisenhall’s rocky campaign has me more than concerned that this is a Matt LaPorta/Andy Marte type situation. We will keep waiting on him to come around and it may never occur. I hope I am wrong.
Then again, Headley’s breakout 2012 season could have been a complete fluke. Either way, I think looking into a deal with the Padres is something the Indians should explore.