Looking forward to the 2015 season, the Astros have stated a priority to upgrade the bullpen. The next critical spot is the left side of the infield. While Gregorio Petit and Matt Dominguez shared duties at third base in the second half, neither is a reliable plug as we play the waiting game on Colin Moran or Rio Ruiz. I suggest the Astros take a look at signing Chase Headley.
Tim Dierkes, of MLB Trade Rumors, recently published a free agent profile on the third baseman Headley. One of the reasons that I have interest in Chase is due to his consistency of being a quality defensive player.
"Headley’s defense is a major contributor to his value, leading to roughly four wins above replacement in each of the last two seasons."
While defense is not the only component of being a productive major league player at this positive, it could be argued that defense is a qualification the Astros might value higher than others. Their pitching staff is in the upper tier in regards to pitchers and ground ball rates. That should not be surprising; Dallas Keuchel led all of MLB with a 63.5% ground ball rate during the 2014 season.
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On the offensive side of things, Headley finished 5th in the MVP-voting in 2012. He has failed to replicate those numbers, however, Dierkes is quick to mention his on-base percentage has remained above average. This is another quality that the Astros rank high. Chase sported “a .371 OBP and walk rate near 13% in his 224 plate appearances for the Yankees” concluding the 2014 campaign. To really put this into perspective the Astros third basemen OBP was just .262 this season. For his career Headley has .347 career on base percentage.
Dierkes believes that Headley will “value long-term security this offseason” which led to an estimated “four-year, $48MM deal.” An AAV of about $12 million is likely a little steep for a team trying to spend approximately $30 million this offseason.
I want to see the Astros make things interesting in the 2015 season. This team played their final 125 games with a 59-66 record. What can they do with a proven major league player at third base?