Tuesday, March 1, 2016

What If Chase Headley Cannot Remember How to Play Defense?

Continuing our “What If” series for the 2016 season we head out to Yankees camp to see what the team has in store and what the team has planned if Chase Headley cannot remember how to play defense in 2016.

It is not out of the realm of possibilities that Chase Headley can 100% forget how to play defense next season, we’ve seen it before in New York and there is no reason we won’t see it again in New York on a long enough time line. Headley was an elite defender at third base during his time in San Diego but when he came to New York he seemingly forgot how to make the routine plays and throws to first base. We’ve seen it before, remember Chuck Knoblauch in the late-90’s with the Yankees for a reference point, and the Yankees failed miserably at snapping Knoblauch out of his funk so what do they do if the same happens to Headley?

The Yankees plan to snap Knoblauch out of his defensive funk was to move him from second base to left field which proved to be an act in futility. The difference between Headley and Knoblauch though is that Headley has experience at other positions, the outfield, first base and even at shortstop as an amateur, where Knoblauch had none. Headley could conceivably be moved elsewhere but the only position you would truly want him at would be first base. If the Yankees have a healthy Mark Teixeira that’s not an option so what is Plan B?

Do you bench Headley thus opening the door for Starlin Castro at third and Robert Refsnyder at second? Ideally that’s not ideal but it’s a Plan B for a reason. Castro has about as much experience at third base in his professional career as I have a professional career in Major League Baseball, I don’t, so you would think having him take reps there in real game experiences would be somewhere down the priority list for the Yankees and Joe Girardi. You can’t play Refsnyder there either because he has less experience than Castro or you can’t call up a prospect unless it’s Tyler Austin, who hasn’t played third in quite some time, after trading away Rob Segedin and Eric Jagielo.

So what do the Yankees do if Headley can’t play defense, and keep in mind his bat isn’t going to carry him or justify his place in the lineup and on the field either, and they feel like they need to make a move? Are we ready for the Ronald Torreyes era at third base? The Donovan Solano era? Do we make a trade for Martin Prado, again, and hope for the best, again? I truly don’t know but I know one thing, I truly am worried. Hopefully Headley used the offseason to clear his head and get out of his own way because if he can’t play defense in 2016 then the entire team is in a world of hurt. 


  1. For Refsy, 3rd base is much easier to learn than 2nd base. Being able to play both positions is a good deal for him if his arm is good enough. and I hear it is, I guess!

    1. Why would third base be easier? I don't have some argument already prepared, I'm genuinely curious. Besides the obvious need for footwork and agility on double plays and such. With every procedure a second baseman needs and a third baseman doesn't you have it going both ways. Just for example, covering bases on bunts.

    2. 3rd base is a less demanding position, there are fewer things and angles to learn at 3rd base. 3rd basemen only have one way to go (if one plays as Headley does), to his left, whereas 2nd base has to learn more positional responsibilities and has more things going on around him. Most 3rd basemen are playing there for a reason; glove work is not good, heavy hitter, some are very good with the glove but not many. I played 3rd base a bit as well as 2nd base and, in my opinion, 3rd is much easier.


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)