A day after the New York Yankees committed five errors in a 4-2 loss to the Texas Rangers, GM Brian Cashman and the organization said enough is enough. No longer will the franchise sit idly by and watch the current configuration of defenders continually fail to make the most routine of defensive plays. Something had to be done to make the Yankees defense into less of a liability, and that something involved trading for former San Diego Padres third baseman and 2012 Gold Glove winner Chase Headley, as announced on Tuesday by the Yankees. In return, the Yankees will be sending infielder Yangervis Solarte, pitcher Rafael De Paula, and $1 million in cash to the Padres, per reports by CBS Sports's Jon Heyman.
With Headley now manning one of the infield's hot corners, the Yankees defense should receive an immediate jolt in the arm. Headley by himself will not be able to turn around what has been a moribund defense to date -- the Yankees currently sit 22nd out of 30 teams in defensive efficiency -- but having him on the field should at least cut down on the number of errors committed by the Yankees as well as extend the range of the defensive infield. Due to his stellar defensive background, Headley should be able to make plays on balls other Yankees third basemen have failed to turn into outs this season. Additionally, Headley's presence on the field should allow the Yankees pitchers to see at least a slight decrease in their batting average allowed on balls in play as well as give them confidence to pitch to contact or, at least, prevent them from being fearful of what might happen if an opposing batter happens to make contact with one of their pitches and put it in play.
While marveling at the spectacular defense Headley plays at third, keep in mind that his ability to pick it is where all of his value lies, and one would be better off not looking directly at any of his at-bats because he will be dreadful at the plate. It has been two seasons since Headley posted an impressive wOBA -- his 2012 wOBA was a robust .378 -- and his hitting this season has left everything to be desired. After 307 plate appearances this season, Headley can only begrudgingly admit that yes, even though he is actually a major-league player and has the uniforms and paychecks to prove it, that he has not hit anywhere near replacement level; the Padres might have done just as well to give his plate appearances to random passersby than allow Headley to continue to hit to an anemic .295 wOBA.
It is unlikely that Headley will perform any better at the plate in a Yankees uniform, but his defensive proficiency is so stellar that his play in the field will easily trump his myriad struggles at the plate. At the end of the day, Headley's defensive play will help the Yankees a lot more than his feeble hitting will hurt them. And for a team that is grasping desperately for any edge, the trade for Headley was a wise decision because it addressed a dire and basic need for the Yankees: the ability to turn balls put into play into outs.