Chase Headley inked a 4-year, $52 million deal to stay in the Bronx. And all Headley fans and recent converts can rejoice. I include myself in this as I’ve been impressed with the 3rd baseman since his Padre days.
But I really saw his worth and value when on his first day after the trade in July, he walked into the dugout introduced himself to everyone, jumped into the game in extra innings as a pinch-hitter, and then hit the game-winning walk-off hit. Yes, it sounds like a movie, but that is the magic that is Yankee Stadium when one who is meant to wear the pinstripes sets foot on the hallowed ground.
Enough poetic waxing, I promise… for now…
Speculation began immediately word of the deal leaked out on how the infield might be shaped, especially as Headley was only interested in signing with a team if he could be a starter; he wasn’t interested in a utility role or part-time bench-warmer. So the logical assumption would make the infield Headley at 3rd, recently acquired Gregorius at shortstop, Prado shifts more permanently to 2nd, and a healthy Teixeira returns to his home at 1st. Not a bad infield at all.
Then rounding out the starters, it looks like Gardner, Ellsbury, and Beltran guard the outfield, McCann at the plate, and a still-forming pitching rotation and bullpen. This leaves returning veteran Rodriguez to shift to a more regular DH role, something that could definitely be good as he returns to a daily level of playing. Rodriguez could also fill-in for both Headley and Teixeira on needed off days, and I imagine Beltran getting some time at DH rotating in some of the utility guys when necessary.
But again, there’s still a lot of time until Opening Day, including that arduous audition process of Spring Training. Every year, another player proves himself worthy of a spot on Opening Day roster, that coveted 25-man list, or even to be slotted into the 40-man roster to be called up when needed. Somewhere some guy is getting ready for the holidays with his family, completely unaware that this will be his year to be a Yankee. Oh, I’m sure it’s on his Christmas list, but reality can alter destiny at Spring Training.
And that is part of the magic of baseball… you just never know…