New York Yankees third baseman Chase Headley may not be a fan favorite, but he’s an important piece to the 2017 roster.Ever since New York Yankees third baseman Chase Headley donned pinstripes in 2014, fans have been critical of his performance at the plate and on the field.
Yes, Headley’s had some moments in Yankees pinstripes that will, unfortunately, be remembered, like his 23 error season in 2015 and his slow start at the plate in 2016. However, Headley isn’t the useless player majority of the fanbase paints him out to be.
You’d be surprised how many times I’ve had Yankees fans tell me that Headley should simply be traded to another team because he’s ‘”terrible.” I agree Headley isn’t the MVP caliber player the team has on the roster, but he is a player the team currently needs.
Believe it or not, Headley is a Gold Glove third baseman that simply had a fluke season in 2015. And Headley proved his terrible 2015 campaign on the field was a fluke in 2016; in 1169.0 innings at third base, Headley only committed 10 errors.
Offensively, Headley had an All-Star season in 2012 with the San Diego Padres and hasn’t hit the same since. However, no one can call Headley unproductive, especially in 2016. Headley did have a terrible April last season (.150/.268/.150), that’s something I’m not going to deny. But Headley was far from awful at the plate last season; in 140 games with the Yankees, Headley hit .253/.331/.385 with 14 homers, 51 RBI and a 91 OPS+. It’s also worth mentioning the Yankees aren’t paying him Jacoby Ellsbury money, so the Yankees aren’t expecting 30 homers and 100 RBI from him.
So, what are the Yankees expecting from Headley?
In a transition season where the Yankees are trying to have a balance of veteran and youth talent, they’re looking for Headley to remain productive at the plate and at third base. But they also want Headley as a veteran presence in the clubhouse.
It’s no secret that within a few seasons, Headley isn’t going to be a part of the impending youth movement. The Yankees have been vocal about trying to lower payroll and have listened to trade offers regarding Headley. But Headley is with the team because nothing tickled the Yankees fancy. They derived the conclusion they’d be a better team this season with Headley on the roster.
Headley isn’t a superstar player and will never have a plaque in Monument Park for his contributions to the Yankees, but Headley is extremely useful, especially during a transition season. The moment Headley isn’t useful is when fans can start panicking. But that moment hasn’t arrived yet, and it most likely won’t this season.