Indians

Should the Indians “Chase” Headley?

Chase HeadleyIt 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.

 

  • mgbode

    and Biogenesis proves that it cannot catch everyone who is cheating (which we all knew anyway).

    MLB is much better at catching their guys than NFL, NBA, but PED science will always be ahead of testing science.

  • Steve

    The Indians have frequently DFAed a guy on the last year of his contract who wasn’t performing. That’s different than giving up on a pre-arb guy, who is much younger and under team control for a much longer time.

  • Steve

    Right, which was part of one of my initial posts. There is no good reason for Headley to have started using just now and only for one year, which is what you have to believe if you think PEDs made him a one year wonder. The logic is confounding.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    You said it so it must be gospel chief!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    BINGO! You think you know me but you have no idea I’m in your head son U CAN’T SEE ME!!!

  • CBI

    For me it’s Brady Anderson. Successful MLB career, and then one year, BOOM!, 30 more home runs than his next best season. Anytime a one-hit wonder pops up, he immediately comes to mind and I think PEDs

  • bupalos

    Again, not slapping a PED sticker on. Just saying it belongs in the risk assessment. It does. I’d like to see some study of players’ beta in pre-PED v. PED eras. But my feeling is there is a lot more short-term variability in the PED era, and that this is not a coincidence.

  • bupalos

    Flawed true, but it still illustrates the point I am trying to make, which is not the point you keep hearing. You can determine on and off points for testing and PED’s differently (in reality it’s just a spectrum of likelihood) but the risk still belongs in the equation, however you weight it.

    But to answer the question, I think the consensus is that the PED regime and maybe more importantly internal culture reached a tipping point last year. So that it’s significantly more likely a player was using in 2010 or 11 versus 13.

  • bupalos

    Flawed true, but it still illustrates the point I am trying to make, which is not the point you keep hearing. You can determine on and off points for testing and PED’s differently (in reality it’s just a spectrum of likelihood) but the risk still belongs in the equation, however you weight it.

    But to answer the question, I think the consensus is that the PED regime and maybe more importantly internal culture reached a tipping point last year. So that it’s significantly more likely a player was using in 2010 or 11 versus 13.

  • bupalos

    I could give you several million reasons why, if Headley did take them in that window of his power-surge, he took them at exactly the right time.

    But again, you seem to be assuming that we are trying to prove or assume Headley guilty and you are presenting a defense. This isn’t it at all. There is one point and one point only: that teams HAVE to (and I guarantee thy do) assign some risk to high beta players in an environment that is believed to be high in PED use.

  • Steve

    But you did. It’s your first bit of “analysis” you present about him. There’s a whole lot of factors in the risk assessment, and you only chose to present one.

    And bup, that last sentence is exactly what I’m talking about when I say “zero critical thinking”. You feel something is true, you won’t find the facts to back it up, and you assume that it couldn’t possibly be a coincidence. That’s bad science.

  • Steve

    But why didn’t he take them sooner for those same million reasons? Why didn’t he continue taking them for those same million reasons? That’s where the logic breaks down.

  • nj0

    I’m with Steve on this one. Players have fluky years for a variety of reasons. Go look up Davey Johnson on Baseball Reference.

    I just don’t see the advantage in supposing PEDs. Unless you have some sort of legit proof that makes you suspicious, what good does it do? You’re just making assumptions about a guy with no actual proof. That seems like a horrendous way to make decisions.

    That said, if we were to get Headley, I’d expect 10 hrs a season more than 20 or 30.

  • Steve

    It reached a tipping point last year how? To fit your narrative? The tipping point was when testing with suspensions started. Testing hasn’t changed a bit in the last year.

  • Steve

    Same thing as said above. Why did he wait so long into his career to start, and why did he stop using them if they worked so well for him? There was no testing at all then. He would have continued loading to the gills if they were the reason he hit 50 home runs.

    I’d say that the inability to replicate an outstanding performance in years where no changes were made to testing, which is the case for both Headley and Anderson, is evidence that PEDs shouldn’t be tied to them.

  • bupalos

    Not saying there isn’t something to that. Though I still think you’d be at pains to find guys starting with this so/w ratio that went south. 96-97-98 with control and changing speeds is something I feel confident isn’t going to be adjusted into mediocrity. And I think scouts and front offices would feel the same way.

  • mgbode

    “I’d expect 10 hrs a season more than 20 or 30”

    you’d expect 40HRs???

    (sorry, couldn’t help it)

  • nj0

    This is what always bothered me about the Brady Anderson used steroids storyline.

    One day, Brady said, “I wonder how steroids will change my game?”

    *ONE YEAR LATER*

    “Wow, they made a premier slugger! That is amazing. Of course now with my curiousness sated, I will stop using them. Why would I want to make a whole lot more money using something that aren’t technically against the rules?”

  • bupalos

    “my feeling is this is not a coincidence” is not “it couldn’t possibly be a coincidence.” I’m just saying that in the absence of a study on player beta, I’ll tend towards the informed assumption (loosely based on aggregate numbers in the “steroid era” years) that PED’s would correlate with higher betas and higher betas would correlate with PED use/cessation. To an extent that merits me mentioning it as a significant risk factor? Maybe maybe not. But it wouldn’t be a bad or particularly unscientific working assumption, in the absence of a thorough study, that individual high beta correlates with PED use and that this risk has to be taken into account.

  • Steve

    Sure, its impressive, and scouts are saying as much.

    In fact, Keith Law today: “Seems fair to call him at least a future 2 if he holds up”

    The “if he holds up” is still highly questionable, and is what I’m trying to point out. If he can get 180 IP in a season, like say Harvey is going to do, then you can probably start putting him in that boat. But he’s still way too far from proving his durability.

  • Natedawg86

    Cabrera.

  • bupalos

    No I think that really is the general perception. There are a ton of player interviews with guys saying there was a tipping point last year, probably because of biogenesis and guys thinking the PED game wasn’t worth playing, that an internal culture shift happened. So now instead of a don’t snitch oppositional culture that was at the heart of the problem, you’ve got the opposite. If that’s true, I think it would be significantly more important than the testing regime.

  • Steve

    It’s not an informed assumption. It’s just an assumption made by writers who prefer a narrative to research.

    And no, without a thorough study, working assumptions generally provide us with poor results.

  • bupalos

    Offhand, maybe we’re talking about contract years, or years that became contract years at least? Once you hit the big payday, surely some guys would not want to continue with the personal health risk nor the risk of getting caught.

  • Steve

    You think a lot of things without presenting any actual facts bup. You’ve got a preconceived notion, and you’re putting your head down and running with it, and not even being open to the idea that maybe we need to do some research before making these assumptions.

    We’re not going to make anymore headway here, so the best I can suggest is that we end the working assumptions and start doing some real research.

  • mgbode

    so it is written

  • Steve

    Anderson had his career year in 96, and didn’t become a free agent until after 97. Why didn’t he continue to use in 97? But, you’re just throwing stuff at the wall and hoping it sticks at this point.

    Headley went to arb after 2012, but he’s going again this year and next. Why wouldn’t he continue juicing up if it worked so well for him?

  • mgbode

    well, only 12 hitters had hit 50HRs before his feat. and, his body broke down afterwards (which can happen if your body cannot support what the PEDs are doing to you).

    Gary Mathews Jr. case seems awfully similar to Brady Anderson’s and given the era he played in, I think it is more plausible that he used than didn’t.

    http://web.archive.org/web/20070304003941/http://timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=566985&category=&BCCode=HOME&newsdate=2/27/2007

  • bupalos

    All I am arguing is that PED use risk belongs in the equation. And whether or not you want to put it there, organizations are rational enough that they will and I’m sure do, and have the resources to at least try and quantify the risk. I’m all for research, but since there isn’t going to be any “clean” raw data– not even in the aggregate– it’s all going to have to rely on working assumptions to some extent.

  • nj0

    Sure, why not. I mean, we have already proven that he is willing to do PEDs to get paid. And with 2015 being his FA year, he’ll undoubtedly double (triple?) down on the roids, PEDs, and needles, the greenies, the blackies, and the bluies, and the corked bats, masking agents, and deer antler sprays.

  • mgbode

    made up with it with considerably more power than Chase provided (outside his outlier year).

  • nj0

    Body broke down? He five seasons of 151, 133, 150, 141, and 131 games after that. Most at a very high level. If slowing down in your upper 30’s is a sign of PED use…..

  • Steve

    I’m not disagreeing that PED risk shouldn’t be throw in. But there are so many other things that we need to add to the equation that singling out PEDs doesn’t make much sense. And pretending we can do it by thinking we are observing one outlier year, and presenting no other analysis about a player is going in the wrong direction.

  • bupalos

    This is just more of you presenting evidence for the defense. But I’m not prosecuting. I’m saying one thing. You have to weight the risk. You’re saying “yeah, well because of this and this and this, he needs to be presumed innocent or we’re being unjust/unscientific.” Yes, I am accepting the storyline that because of a culture shift cited by numerous players, PED use is on the outs this year in a big way, and I look at recent big drops (like Astrocab’s or Headley’s) that were preceded by big jumps in previous years (like Astrocab’s or Headley’s) with a wary eye.

  • Steve

    And more than 12 hitters used PEDs before he did it, and apparently few of them turned into HR-mashing machines. That suggests that there were other factors that led to Anderson’s single season outburst and subsequent immediate decline in that statistic.

  • Steve

    You know I’m taking above average OBP over sub .300 OBP the vast majority of the time, and you should be too.

  • mgbode

    he was taught by Cal Ripken to play through it. he played 1997 with broken ribs for instance.

  • nj0

    Which proves PED use? If anything, it suggests to me that he would have hit a lot more dingers in 1997 if he was healthy.

  • Steve

    Bup, you’re still just presenting your random musings as facts, and not providing any real facts, and when you get questioned, you make Glenn Beck proud with how quickly you paraphrase his “I’m just asking questions”. So, have at it hoss, I’m tapping out.

  • mgbode

    quite possibly. i never said i thought he stopped using (why would he if it worked and MLB wasn’t testing it and he already started it).

    i also don’t really care that he did (if he did). sort of had to in that environment to compete on an “even” playing field.

  • mgbode

    no, I said it was only PEDs and there were no other factors (or that is what the strawman you are creating said)

  • nj0

    But you think he was using? Fair enough. I too am tapping out. Not to be a jerk, but it’s pointless arguing about this. The insinuations and reasoning proving player X used steroids (assuming player X never had any actual proof presented against him that he did in fact use) reminds me too much of 9/11 Truther logic.

    High single season HR total- he used! Consistent HR production- he used! Incurred an injury- he used! Played pretty much injury free- he used!

    Everything and anything is just proof that supports the original assumed fact – that he used.

  • Steve

    You’re still assuming finding the narrative you like, and fitting PEDs to it. That’s the opposite of how we need to evaluate this.

  • bupalos

    That’s fair.

  • bupalos

    tapping out? But I haven’t even pulled out my chalkboard to show how all this connects to Van Jones and international communism yet!

  • mgbode

    personally, yes, I do think he used PEDs. maybe he was one of the very select few who had increased power numbers in the late 90s who didn’t use PEDs. certainly possible and i’m not ruling it out.

    but, my opinion is that he used. and, I have stated that as opinion and not fact.

  • mgbode

    just as good (or better as he’s done it longer) as either so far has been Alex Wood. didn’t even fully realize “how good” until I saw he had a nice game today and went to look at what he’s done.

    A. Wood 51.2IP, 39hits, 14BBs, 1HR, 15ER, 57K
    Salazar 23IP, 15hits, 7BBs, 5HR, 9ER, 29K
    Gray 25IP, 12hits, 7BBs, 2HR, 4ER (6runs), 27K