Headley deal foreshadows weak trade market for Red Sox veterans


The New York Yankees picked up Chase Headley on Tuesday. The 30-year old immediately endeared himself to the Bronx faithful, providing the Yankees with a walk-off hit in the bottom of the 14th on a night the team had been held scoreless through the first 12 frames.

The Yankees crave offense, and the 2012 All-Star was a relatively inexpensive gamble. They dealt away Yangervis Solarte, a career minor leaguer in a tailspin at the plate, and Rafael De Paula, a pitcher in high-A ball. The San Diego Padres, Headley’s former team, chipped in a cool $1 million. That’s right: the Padres paid the Yankees.

On the heels of Yankees GM Brian Cashman swapping underwhelming starter Vidal Nuno for Brandon McCarthy, an established Major League arm, in a deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Headley deal indicates the market isn’t exactly rich for veteran talent in need of a change of scenery. And with the Red Sox looking more and more like sellers after the Blue Jays derailed their post-All Star break fun train, that’s going to be Ben Cherington’s pitch for guys like Jake Peavy and Jonny Gomes.

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Looking for the Cards, Giants, or Brewers to take Peavy, like Headley, a 2012 All-Star, off your hands? You might have to pay some of the roughly $5.5 million remaining on his 2014 tab. Think somebody wants to plant Jonny Gomes like a good-luck gnome in the corner of their outfield lawn? You won’t be getting much in return for those pinch-home runs.

A couple of days ago, we were scheming about the Red Sox fortifying for a stretch run. But two straight losses to a division rival picked the scab of something the Red Sox created themselves: they’ve left a slim margin for error with their underachieving play. The roster is stocked with young players (eh hem, Xander Bogaerts) who will commit such errors. Things aren’t looking good, and now the Rays, on a seven-game tear, have eclipsed Boston in the standings.

With the trade deadline fast approaching, it makes little sense for Cherington to hold onto veterans clogging the pathway to the Majors for his own prized prospects. But he shouldn’t expect much in return.