Free Agent Friday: Red Sox options at third base

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Aug 27, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Yankees third baseman Chase Headley (12) hits a single during the second inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

1. Chase Headley

Headley represents the anti-Hanley Ramirez or Pablo Sandoval option. While he doesn’t have the flair (or potentially the talent) of either player, there’s a much better chance that he becomes a solid, reliable third baseman for the Red Sox and lives up to his contract.

He had a tough season in 2014, slashing .243/.328/.372 between the Padres and Yankees, but his larger body of work suggests that Headley is a better player than that. Of course, he had that stellar 2012 season in which he broke onto the scene with a .286/.376/.498 slash line, 31 home runs, and a league-leading 115 RBIs. Throughout his career, though, he has been a consistent and reliable third baseman, featuring a career .265/.347/.409 line despite spending approximately half of his games in PetCo Park, a notoriously pitcher-friendly stadium.

In addition to his good-but-not-great offensive statistics, though, Headley is also a phenomenal defensive third baseman. A one-time Gold Glover and champion of defensive metrics, Headley would provide great defensive stability at the hot corner, a valuable, if underrated, skill.

More than anything else, though, the factor that bumps Headley above the other third base candidates is his potential contract. Coming off a rough season, he will be significantly less expensive than Sandoval or Ramirez, while likely providing similar production (to Sandoval at least). He’s not a sexy option, but it’s likely that he’s the player Ben Cherington will have his eye on this winter, and with good reason.