Chase Headley had a fine, if unspectacular season in his age-33 campaign. He was only slightly better than average at the plate as measured by wRC+ (104), but Headley was on the field almost every day and compiled useful run and RBI totals. As has been the case every year since 2012, Headley disappointed in the power department -- he has ranged between 11-14 homers over the past five years -- as his hard-hit and flyball rates fell to 30 percent and 31.7 percent, respectively. Headley upped his walk rate to 10.2 percent, a five-year high, and maintained a strikeout rate right around his career average, but he didn't improve much from the right side and his defense graded out poorly. The Yankees were able to dump the final year of his contract on the Padres by attaching Bryan Mitchell this offseason, which will allow Headley to get everyday at-bats at third base to start the season without having the Yankees' top prospects breathing down his back.
Headley was traded to the Padres along with Bryan Mitchell on Tuesday for an undisclosed package, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. Headley was entering the final year of his contract, and the Yankees had a ready replacement in Miguel Andujar, so it is not surprising that they looked to unload his salary. He is coming off his best offensive season (.273/.352/.406) since 2013 -- his last full season with San Diego. Headley should slot in as the Padres' everyday third baseman, although with no commitment beyond 2018, they might be willing to opt for a younger internal option at some point if he is not producing. He is still a fringe fantasy option in most formats, but his playing time appears to be more secure, at least for the first half of the season.
Headley will not be a part of Friday's starting nine for Game 2 of the ALDS against Cleveland, Buster Olney of ESPN reports. Manager Joe Girardi will turn to Jacoby Ellsbury in the DH spot following Thursday's 4-0 loss. During that contest, Headley went 0-for-2 with one walk.
Headley is out of the lineup Monday against the Royals. After starting five of the Yankees' last six contests and recording three hits in 17 at-bats, Headley will return to the bench with Matt Holliday resuming DH duties after a two-game hiatus. Holliday still looks like the Yankees' primary designated hitter as the playoffs approach, but an underwhelming .239/.314/.413 slash line in September could prompt manager Joe Girardi to hand more opportunities to Headley if Holliday fails to show improvement in the final week of the regular season.
Headley is out of the lineup against the Twins on Wednesday, Pete Caldera of The Bergen Record reports. Headley will take a seat on the bench for Wednesday's matinee following a 1-for-4 performance with three strikeouts during Tuesday's victory. In his place, Greg Bird draws the start at first while Todd Frazier is set to man the hot corner.
Headley went 1-for-4 with a two-run home run during Thursday's win over Baltimore. The veteran has caught fire of late going 10-for-23 at the dish with three homers, four RBI and six runs through his past six games. Unfortunately, Headley is battling for playing time with Greg Bird, Todd Frazier and Matt Holliday. While there's an outside chance that Headley's recent form earns him additional at-bats moving forward, his fantasy value will probably remain limited to deep settings.