Chicago Cubs: Chase Headley as a Trade Target and Why It Makes Sense

Pete Dymeck@PeteDymeckAnalyst IMay 7, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 19:  Chase Headley #7 of the San Diego Padres hits a solo home run against the San Francisco Giants in the sixth inning at AT&T Park on April 19, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

In a season where the prospect of competing is long gone by the month of May, it is hard to imagine the Chicago Cubs as "buyers" as we head into the summer months. However, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal speculates that the San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley would be "a perfect fit for the Cubs." 

While it appears that no basis for this speculation exists, a Headley-to-Chicago deal is rather thought-provoking.

Headley will turn 29 this week and the Padres organization isn't sure if they can secure Headley to a long-term deal. For a club which has the sixth-lowest payroll in Major League Baseball, the tantalizing third baseman may prove to be more valuable than they can afford.

In his column, Rosenthal points out that the Cubs have three prospects that could possibly be moved in such a deal. Shortstop Javier Baez and outfielders Jorge Soler and Albert Amora are the most coveted prospects within the Cubs organization. 

According to Baseball Prospectus, the three aforementioned prospects rank within the top 36 of all MLB prospects (No. 18 Almora, No. 20 Baez, No. 36 Soler).

To make matters more complicated, the Padres have been on a hot streak of late. They have won nine of their last 12 games while averaging nearly five runs per outing. San Diego is now just five games behind first place in the National League West division. 

The NL West is too challenging for the Padres to maintain their current stretch though. They are still in fourth place and four games below .500. Like the Cubs, they are expected to finish last in their division. 

A Headley deal to the Cubs may not favor the third baseman though. While nothing has been publicly declared, many are assuming he wants to play for a contender. Currently, the Cubs look like they won't be contending for a few more years.

On the other hand, Headley may be better off playing in Wrigley Field sooner rather than later.

With first baseman Anthony Rizzo and shortstop Starlin Castro, Headley would be the critical third cog to a core of players which may put the Cubs back into contention as early as next season. 

Headley certainly wouldn't be the solution to all that plagues the Cubs but it would be a turn in the right direction. A trio of Rizzo, Castro and Headley would entice free agents to play in Wrigley Field.

Relatively speaking, the Cubs are closer to competing than the Padres. The Padres have seen their best pitching prospects get riddled with injuries. The bats in their farm system are solid but the addition of an Almora, Baez or Soler will certainly uplift the future outlook.

Such a scenario makes sense for both clubs since Headley gives the Cubs some much-needed pop in their lineup. The Padres will benefit because the return in talent and potential is much larger from the Cubs than any other organization may be willing to pay.

Leading up to the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline, expect the Cubs to be in on the action for Headley. It only makes sense.