Padres should trade Chase Headley now

The Padres should maximize Chase Headley's value and trade him by Opening Day. Mike McGinnis/Getty Image

In early December 2011, the San Diego Padres traded right-hander Mat Latos, their No. 1 starter, to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for a prospect package that included two former first-round picks and major league right-hander Edinson Volquez.

While the Padres don’t stand to get the same return on third baseman Chase Headley, they should seriously think about trading Headley sometime during spring training. Although Headley and the Padres avoided arbitration last week by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $8.75 million, he told the media shortly after the deal was announced that he and the Padres had only one discussion about a multiyear contract and that the two sides were so far apart it wasn’t even worth having another discussion. So they concentrated on the one-year deal.

Right now, the free agent and arbitration markets are at an all-time high. With third basemen such as David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman and Evan Longoria already signed to long-term deals, Headley’s trade value is the best among the third baseman who could be available.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize the small-market Padres might not be able to afford a long-term extension, and if they can't sign him they should trade him now.