If the Padres want to keep third baseman Chase Headley in San Diego for the long haul, they're going to have to pay market price. Headley said Tuesday that he has no plans of giving the Padres a hometown discount if they approach him about a new contract this winter, reports Bill Shaikin of the LA Times.
The 29-year-old third baseman, who is headed into his fourth and final year of Super-Two arbitration, believes that giving the Friars a leg up on the competition would be bad not only for himself, but also for the market as whole:
"You have to at least understand where you are positioned in the market. It doesn't benefit myself or the other players to go out and sign a deal just to sign a deal, without it being a good deal.
"I'm not actively trying to get to free agency, but trying to get what you are worth is important. It would be foolish not to at least pay attention. I'm not going to sell myself short."
Headley added that staying in San Diego would be his first choice, but that at this point in his career, he "want[s] to win."
It was rumored at the start of the year that the Padres had plans to make Headley a franchise player by offering him a record contract this fall. At the time, Headley was coming off of a career-best year -- .286/.376/.498 with 31 home runs -- and was one of the most coveted names on the winter trade market.
Now, however, with last year's numbers appearing more like a mirage the further we get into the 2013 season, the Padres may not have to offer record money to retain him long-term. His .240/.331/.368 line this season will negatively affect his leverage in negotiations, meaning that market price he's hoping for may look an awful lot like a hometown discount compared to the money he would have netted last year.
Headley seems to be well aware of this, stating: "Every season impacts the business side of it. It would have been great to have another season like last season. That's not the case."