Chase Headley won't listen to a contract offer?

Denis Poroy

Hey, it's only May and we've got some big contract news about Chase Headley! Really! He's all set to become The Highest-Paid Player in Padres History! Say so right here:

Wednesday, Ron Fowler, the executive chairman of the Padres, told U-T San Diego that a "multi-year" deal will be offered to the reigning RBI champion of the National League "before midseason" that would make Headley the highest-paid player in franchise history.

"Will it be 10 years? No," said Fowler. "We're not going to do something like that. But we will do an offer that will be the largest offer we've ever made to a player in San Diego history and think it will be very close to some of the numbers I read in the press."

Well, that seems pretty definitive, right? The Padres are definitely going to make Headley an offer this season, and it would definitely make him the highest-paid player in franchise history. Now, there are different ways of defining "highest-paid player" -- highest Average Annual Value (AAV)? largest overall compensation over life of contract? -- and it's not like the Padres have been setting any major-league records in recent years. Still, it seems clear that the Padres intend to make Chase Headley a very wealthy young man.

Except it seems that nobody asked Chase Headley. Via MLB.com's Corey Brock:

Padres third baseman Chase Headley said on Thursday that he "loves playing in San Diego" and was flattered to hear that ownership wants to keep him here long-term.

He just doesn't want to discuss a contract extension during the season.

"We made it abundantly clear [before] that we didn't want to talk about it during the season," Headley told MLB.com by phone before the Padres faced the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

"I didn't think that for me and for the team that it was good to get caught up with all of this during the season."

--snip--

"It's flattering they feel the way they feel about me. I love playing in San Diego, I love the fans," Headley said. "But I just don't think now is the time to get involved with this. That's it. If there's an opportunity to engage after the season, so be it.

"I didn't want to have to deal with the fallout I'm dealing with."

You know, I totally get this. I don't know how many times my employers have said to me during the spring, "Rob, we would like to lock you into a new deal guaranteeing that you're fabulously wealthy as long as you don't try to build a space rocket or something."

And every time, I simply held up my hand said, "Not now, fellas. Gotta concentrate on this next Pulitzer Prize-winning column about that time Randy Johnson exploded a seagull. Let's talk after the World Series."

Kidding. I wouldn't begrudge Headley any reasons he might have for not negotiating during the season. But if I'm his agent, I might call him and gently suggest that he reconsider.

Look, the Padres are being foolish. Headley's coming off a fantastic 2012, he's doing really well in 2013, and he's under team control through 2014. He's also going to turn 30 a year from now. It's quite possible that Headley will never look as good as he looks at this exact moment. If I'm Chase Headley or Chase Headley's agent, I ask for ownership's best number and then I make a counterproposal and then about two seconds later I sign for whatever they're offering. Because the offer's never going to be better than right now.

Assuming, of course, that I want to keep playing in San Diego. Tough place to win, and first place doesn't seem likely in the next few years.

But San Diego seems like a pleasant enough place. If I'm Headley I take the money. And if I'm ownership, I don't offer it to him in the first place.

For much more about Headley and the Padres, please visit SB Nation's Gaslamp Ball.

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