Is Chase Headley better Than Matt Dominguez for the Astros?
By Eric Huysman
Once again after losing Andrew Miller, the Astros and Yankees are neck in neck over signing a free agent. No it’s not David Robertson, it’s former Padre and Yankee Chase Headley. My first thought was why, he’s a has been, and the Astros already have Matt Dominguez. So this article will look at the aspects of both their games, and decide if this would be a wise investment by the Astros.
Before I compare the two players, lets look at the rumored deal that the Astros have offered to Chase Headley. Buster Olney said that “Reportedly, third baseman Chase Headley has an offer for $65 million over four years. Sources: the Giants are not on him at that level.”
Other reports say that the team that has given Chase Headley the offer is the Houston Astros. This almost does not sound like the Astros, 16 million a year for a 30 year old third baseman. At the time of writing this article, it looks like the Yanks may be favorites for Headley again, according to Andrew Marchard.
The rest of the article will be a comparison of the Dominguez and Headley by defense, offense, leadership, and Colin Moran or Rio Ruiz blocking. Will Headley really be that much an upgrade over Matt Dominguez?
Looking at his first two full seasons of Matt Dominguez with the Astros, his defensive WAR in 2013 was 1.4 which dropped to -1.3 in 2014. In 2013 Dominguez had 16 errors in 431 chances, for a .963 fielding percentage compared to 2014 in which he had 11 errors in 398 chances for a 0.972 fielding percentages. Something else that stood out to me was Rdrs, which stands for defensive runs saved above average, was 8 in 2013 and dropped to -4 the next year. So while Dominguez cut down on his errors, he slipped in other categories.
Because Chase Headley is a veteran, lets look at his average per career, versus the past two years. Over his 8 year MLB career, 60 errors in 1823 chances with a 0.967 fielding percentage. This is an average of 7.5 errors a season with a low of 3 errors in a season and a high of 13 errors in 2010. As he has gotten older, he has averaged closer to 11 errors in a year. Headley’s Rdrs for his career is 29, which represents about 3.6 runs saved a year.
Matt Dominguez had a productive first full season in 2013, in which he had a batting average 0.241, 21 home runs, 77 runs batted in, with 96 strike outs in 589 plate appearances. This represents a strikeout percentage of 16% while maintaining a 0.690 OPS. All signs pointed to improvement in 2014, but he ended with a batting average 0.215, 16 home runs, 57 runs batted in, with 125 strike outs in 607 plate appearances. This represents a strikeout percentage of 21% while his OPS decreased to 0.586.
Chase Headley had a breakout year in 2012 with the Padres hitting 0.286, 31 home runs, 115 RBI’s, with 157 strikeouts in 699 plate appearances. Headley finished in the top 5 in MVP voting that year. The past two years he has fizzed a little, batting 0.250 and 0.243 with 13 homeruns each with around 50 RBI’s each year. However he missed about 20 games each year, and was traded mid season to the Yankees last year. In 2013 and 2014, he had a strikeout percentage of 24% and 23% respectively. He is still just 30, and if could even approach his 2012 numbers, he would be a great addition.
While I’m not sure what Matt Dominguez’s personality, he seems to keep to himself. The main thing that Chase Headley could offer is a veteran leader that might be lacking on this young Astros team. According to Wallace Matthews, “Headley is a solid, versatile player who can give the Yankees a reliable backup at either corner-infield position. He played an above-average third base for them in spite of GM Brian Cashman’s assessment of his defense as “average.” He’s a switch-hitter who shows some power from the left side, which is always an asset at Yankee Stadium. He’s a calm, intelligent presence in a clubhouse that may have a leadership void with the retirement of Derek Jeter.”
Will Not Block Young prospects Colin Moran or Rio Ruiz
I’m gonna say it, if the Astros sign Chase Headley for a four year deal, he will be your third-baseman for a while. Where would you play Colin Moran when he’s ready in 2016, and Rio Ruiz in 2017? Will this be another Carlos Lee type deal where he has nowhere to play. Maybe he could move to DH if Chris Carter is traded. While Matt Dominguez could rebound and be traded when the young guys are ready.
When I started this article, I was iffy about Chase Headley. I feel better now that Headley will be a upgrade over Dominguez, but could block future Astros prospects.
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