Fantasy impact: Headley traded to Yankees
It wouldn't be late July if the Yankees didn't make a notable trade. On Tuesday, they acquired 3B Chase Headley from the Padres in exchange for infielder Yangervis Solarte and minor-league pitcher Rafael DePaula.
After a breakout 2012 (.286-31-115 with 95 runs and 17 stolen bases), Headley dropped to 13 homers with eight steals in an injury-affected 2013, and has fallen off even further this season, batting .229 with seven homers, 32 RBI, four steals and a .651 OPS in 77 games. He's also missed 19 games due to an assortment of injuries, and has fallen out of favor with fantasy owners, as he's owned in just 32.7 percent of FOXSports.com leagues.
Listen up, fantasy folks: It's time to give Headley another chance. Moving from spacious PETCO Park to the extremely cozy confines of Yankee Stadium should provide a power boost, and this month he's batting .323 with a .785 OPS - not great, but enough to suggest that he's rounding into decent form. Headley isn't the superstar he appeared to be in 2012, but should be a top-15 fantasy third baseman for the rest of the season. I'd take him over more widely-owned hot corner options such as Aramis Ramirez, Lonnie Chisenhall, Casey McGehee, Nolan Arenado and Chris Johnson. And over Manny Machado, no matter how much you want to argue.
Kelly Johnson and Zelous Wheeler have seen time at third base recently for the Yankees, but Johnson's hot corner days are over. Joe Girardi said Tuesday that Johnson could play some right field, and that would impact whatever remaining AL-only value that Ichiro Suzuki has. As for Johnson ... punt him if you haven't already. Remember when we thought he'd hit 25 homers in the Bronx this season? Or was that just me?
Due to some injuries (Jedd Gyorko, Everth Cabrera), Solarte has an immediate opportunity with the Padres, and will probably take over at third base. However, his modest production with the Yankees (six HR, .718 OPS in 252 at bats) should decline with the move to PETCO, and at age 27, he's never shown much promise as a hitter. For NL-only owners looking for an infielder to get everyday at bats - Solarte is eligible at 2B/3B/SS - he's an adequate option. Beyond that, he's unlikely to help you.