Seattle Mariners trade scenario: Chase Headley

Time for a Mariner shake up

Last season the Seattle Mariners acquired Jesus Montero, and it looked like they had finally found their middle of the order bat of the future.

But Montero faltered in his first season with the M’s, and didn’t show as much clout as everyone was hoping.

And while I still think Montero is going to be an All-Star, Seattle needs more to shore up their lineup.

So whose the answer? How about my man in the hot corner, Chase Headley.

Step 1: Sign a first baseman

The first move for the Mariners would be improving the right side of the diamond.

Despite his usual torrid September, I’m going out on a limb and saying it’s time Seattle parts ways with Justin Smoak. Even with the improved ballpark, I think he’s a guy that needs a change of scenery.

My top picks for the M’s would be Nick Swisher or Mike Napoli. Both players had 24 home runs in 2012, and could be great veteran personalities in a young clubhouse.

Step 2: Reshuffle positions

After the Mariners find a long term solution at first, it’s time to reshuffle some positions.

In this scenario, Kyle Seager would be returning to his natural position at second base. He’s played much better defense there than at third in his career. It would make for a more comfortable middle infield.

With Seager moving to second, Dustin Ackley becomes a man without a position. He would move into one of the outfield spots—preferably right field—which seemed like an inevitable move when he was drafted.

Chase Headley

The Mariners need to chase Chase this offseason.

Ackley was great at second in 2012, but his speed and athleticism should transfer well to the outfield.

Step 3: Acquire Chase Headley

Now that Seattle has finally made the room on the diamond, it’s time to finally get this trade done. But first, a little background on Headley.

At 28 years old, Headley enjoyed his best season in 2012. He hit a solid .286/.376/.498 with career highs in home runs (31), RBI (115) and walks (86). Don’t forget, he did that while playing half his games at Petco Park.

Headley was solid at the hot corner, posting a 6.0 UZR on the way to winning his first Gold Glove.

If Seattle was to acquire Headley, they would have to appeal to San Diego’s needs.

The launching point would have to start at pitching. If San Diego wants to focus on the rebuild, the center of the package should revolve around James Paxton. If they think they’re ready to compete, than it could start with Jason Vargas.

Add in a reliever like Carter Capps and a middle infielder Alex Liddi, and the Mariners have a great package.

Before you get too excited, remember that mystery still surrounds if the Padres even want to move Headley. The rumors have been abundant over the last two years, but San Diego continues to hesitate. If Jack-Z gets aggressive enough, the Mariners have the pieces to get this done.

Final Product

After all these step, the final product is a remastered Mariners lineup with a whole lot of clout. It would look something like this:

1. Dustin Ackley, RF
2. Michael Saunders, LF
3. Chase Headley, 3B
4. Jesus Montero, DH
5. Kyle Seager, 2B
6. Nick Swisher/Mike Napoli, 1B
7. John Jaso, C
8. Franklin Gutierrez, CF
9. Brandan Ryan, SS

Suddenly, the M’s are an elite offensive team with a very challenging middle of the order. Not to mention the improvements it should make to their defensive scheme.

All I can say is, Jack if this is a possibility get it done.


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  • davbee

    Vargas, Liddi and Capps is not near enough for Headley. Unless the M’s are willing to include Hultzen, Walker or Paxton, there’s no way the Padres pull the trigger on a deal.

    • Like I said, it depends on where San Diego is. If the Padres feel like they’re ready to compete, but want to shore up their offense I could see them wanting Vargas who could pitch very well in the NL West/Petco Park. Then they get a closer option in Capps (Street’s health is unreliable), and Liddi who is more a throw in.

      Also like I said, I totally agree with you that if San Diego wants to focus more on stocking up weapons than they would be more apt to ask for one of the big three. I named James Paxton in the article because Walker/Hultzen would be too much for Seattle.

  • Jeff Budke

    I love Chase Headley and the idea of acquiring him- but I agree with the comment below, it will take one of the big three (Walker, Paxon, Hultzen).

    Having said that, I want to hear your thoughts on Dustin Ackley moving to first base instead of signing Napoli or Swisher. I would much rather have a 25-year-old Eric Thames playing RF and a young Dustin Ackley returning to where he played college ball at 1B than Swisher or Napoli who will be very expensive and have long deals that won’t be worth it at the end of their contracts.

    Headley had an MVP type season for the Padres, he would be a valuable addition and make Montero and Saunders better in your projected lineup.

    • Like you, love Headley. Touched on the deal options below in response to “davebee.”

      As for your other question, I think defensively it’d be better if they signed a 1B. Maybe not with Napoli, but he gives defensive flexibility (can play 1B/C/DH).

      Swisher though has been very good at 1B in his career. And even though it’s a small sample size (65 innings) Ackley has struggled there with Seattle. I think his athleticism is much better utilized in an active fielding position (such as outfield) than a more passive position like 1B.

      Also, baseball aside I think a guy like Swisher brings a very good personality into the clubhouse. The Mariners are a very young team and could use some veteran leadership. Swish and Jaso in the same clubhouse would be an awesome combo!

      Hope that answers your questions Jeff. And thanks for the read/comment, appreciate it.

    • tedsfrozenhead

      Jeff I have also wondered about Dustin to first as well. An Ackley/Seager right side of the infield would look pretty nice I think. But I am not sure I would give up on Smoak just yet. He is young enough to become one of those guys who gets it together after leaving the M’s and we just might regret not giving him another year in the organization.

  • tedsfrozenhead

    Headley to Seattle is never going to happen. I am a M’s fan but living here in SoCal I know that Chase is loved in the city and the Padres organization. He is a home grown talent and the face of the Padres and I can’t see him going anywhere, especially with the fences coming in at Petco.

    • In baseball, never say never (take from a Sox fan whose favorite player was Nomar). He’s very much in the same boat as Justin Upton. I’m sure Arizona loves that guy as much as San Diego loves Headley, but both have been in constant rumors. They wouldn’t be dangled so much if their teams weren’t willing to part with their talents. All it takes is the right deal.

  • Seahawksfan99

    No way does this team need the diminishing skills or increased payroll for the likes of Napoli or Swisher. Like it or not (I am a not) Smoak is going to play first base for the M’s for at least the first 2-months of the season. His performance over the last 33 games earned him one more chance. He has had flashes in his career but none of them lasted for a complete month before. Zunino will be starting at catcher by the all star break. Jaso needs to play, his bat is needed everyday but when Zunino arrives where does he play. Montero needs to play in the field as his offensive production is much better outside of the DH role but where does he play? Big question marks about my M’s. Much bigger concerns than what you have mentioned.

    • Okay, gonna try and hit on all your points here man.

      1. Go back and look at Smoak’s career numbers. He always has these surges in September/October that last the whole month. It’s like the M.O. of his career. I don’t think you should look at it as anything more than a hot streak.

      2. Swisher for the right price is a good deal. He’s one of the leagues most consistent players number wise, brings very good defense and on base skill and has one of the most likable personalities in the MLB. But word is he’s looking for a big deal, and I don’t know how much I like him for 4-5 years at $10-$15 million.

      3. You are projecting Zunino to rise far too quickly. The guy is a very well polished college player. And yes he demolished low A pitching, but only had 15 games at AA (not enough to draw a consensus from at the end of the year). It would be very foolish for Seattle to bank on him being a contributor by next season (especially by the A.S. break).

      4. If Zunino does make it when Jaso is around, he can return to a bench role player position. It’s good to keep him around, as he has a stable bat and can give Zunino vital resting days.

      5. Montero will never be more valuable than as a DH. His defense does not hold. Could see him moving to first, but that’s a big if as well. Trust me, when Zunino is up there will be no question as to who plays where.

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