Chase Headley: Maybe Still Useful

The Yankees are 50-48. According to the FanGraphs Playoff Odds model, they stand just a 10-percent chance of winning the AL East and a 5-percent chance of winning one of the two Wild Card spots. They probably aren’t going to make the postseason this year, but they’re the Yankees, so they have to try. And so today, they acquired Chase Headley from the Padres for Yangervis Solarte and A-ball pitching prospect Rafael de Paula.  

This low cost in talent reflects that Headley hasn’t hit at all this year. In fact, his .229/.296/.355 slash line is 12 percent below the league average, even after adjusting for the fact that he’s played half his games in Petco Park. But we often overreact to extreme in-season results, and so projection systems that include multiple years of data help remind us to see the bigger picture. And those projections really like Headley.

Over the rest of the season, the forecasts on FanGraphs expect Headley to produce 1.4 Wins Above Replacement. For comparison, All-Star Todd Frazier is projected for just 1.2 Wins Above Replacement going forward. Would the Yankees be excited to add Todd Frazier for the stretch run? I think they would. And maybe they just did.