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Chase Headley will not negotiate a long-term contract with the San Diego Padres during the season, the third baseman's agent confirmed Thursday.
The Padres have stated that general manager Josh Byrnes has clearance to sign Headley to a deal. The impasse could possibly lead to the Padres trading Headley, who will be eligible for free agency after the 2014 season.
Jim Murray, Headley's agent, claimed that the Padres were informed prior to this season that Headley would not discuss an extension once the year began -- and his intention is to stick with that stance.
We're not trying to set a record. I'm looking to something that is fair to myself and the Padres. I do want a solid commitment, but I'm not looking for 10 years. I wouldn't want anything that would put the Padres in a bad position.” -- Chase Headley on contract negotiations, according to U-T San Diego
Murray's assertion came one day after Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler told U-T San Diego that the team is preparing to offer Headley a multiyear deal that would make him the highest-paid player in franchise history.
"Will it be 10 years? No," Fowler told the paper. "We're not going to do something like that. But we will do an offer that will be the largest offer we've ever made to a player in San Diego history and think it will be very close to some of the numbers I read in the press."
San Diego officials could try to coax Headley into a deal before the July 31 trade deadline. But if the Padres are unable to do that, they may want to market the third baseman in possible deals to try to get as much value for him as possible.
Prospective free agents generate less return as they move closer to free agency, and general managers have claimed that is even more true under the collective bargaining rules that went into effect last season.
Headley, who turns 29 next week, enjoyed a breakthrough campaign in 2012, when he hit 31 home runs and led the National League with 115 RBIs while compiling an .875 OPS. The seven-year veteran finished fifth in the NL MVP voting.
Despite Murray's statement that his client would not negotiate during the season, Headley indicated to U-T San Diego that he would be open to a long-term deal with the Padres.
"I don't want to get involved in saying exactly what it would take," Headley told the paper. "We don't have anything set in stone. We're not trying to set a record. I'm looking to something that is fair to myself and the Padres.
"I do want a solid commitment, but I'm not looking for 10 years. I wouldn't want anything that would put the Padres in a bad position."