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Chase Headley might not be long for San Diego

DOWN THE LINE

Padres third baseman probably would be in high demand and end up traded to a pennant contender. The Dodgers could certainly use him.

May 04, 2013|By Bill Shaikin
  • San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley is batting .276 with three home runs in 16 games this season.
San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley is batting .276 with three… (Lenny Ignelzi / Associated…)

The Dodgers have gotten more offense out of their pitchers than their third basemen. That makes any news about Chase Headley pertinent to the Dodgers.

The new ownership group of the San Diego Padres had been practically invisible all season, until Executive Chairman Ron Fowler popped up Wednesday to tell U-T San Diego the team soon would offer Headley a contract that would make him the richest player in franchise history.

"Indentured servitude went out a long time ago, so we can't force him to stay here," Fowler said.

Within 24 hours, Headley said thanks but no thanks, reminding the Padres he had told them he would not discuss a contract during the season.

"I'm trying to throw water on the fire as much as I can," Headley told reporters.

For the sake of the beaten-down fan base in San Diego, we hope the Padres don't try to justify a summer trade by saying, "We tried to do a new deal. Not our fault."

Even if the Padres would trade Headley to the rival Dodgers, a big if, the Dodgers are not bursting with surplus talent on the major league level. The Padres don't need more prospects. They need to win.

The Dodgers need a bat at the hot corner. Their third basemen are batting .150 with one extra-base hit and a .445 OPS through Friday, with their pitchers batting .174 with two extra-base hits and a .507 OPS.

Headley might be unlikely, but Michael Young might not be. If the Philadelphia Phillies flounder, Young would fit the veteran mold of the Ned Colletti mid-season acquisition. Young had 33 hits, 18 more than the Dodgers third basemen.

Dexter Fowler powers up

As April turned to May, the Colorado Rockies were the surprise occupants of first place in the National League West. For a team so often portrayed as a creature of Coors Field, the most compelling evidence of the Rockies' success might be this: They led the league in runs per game at home — and on the road.

And, for an offense so often portrayed as Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez and a supporting cast, two new stars appear to be emerging. Catcher Wilin Rosario hit seven home runs in April, but hit 28 as a rookie last season.

Dexter Fowler, who never had hit more than 13 home runs in a season or four in a month, hit eight in April. He finished the month with the third-highest slugging percentage in the league, behind Justin Upton and Bryce Harper.

As a switch-hitting center fielder with excellent speed and defense — he robbed Adrian Gonzalez of a home run at Dodger Stadium last week — Fowler could develop into an All-Star if the power isn't a fluke.

Fowler is 27, an age that heralds the peak in most careers, and his slugging percentage has risen in every year of his six-year career. So his power surge is not entirely unexpected, although he is well aware the residue of the steroid age leaves some fans to wonder about any sudden rise in home runs.

"I don't care if they wonder or not," Fowler said. "I'm all about being clean and having a clean image. God gave me talents. There is no way I'm going to tarnish them."

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