MLB: Can Chase Headley help Yankees in a weak AL East?

8:45 p.m. EDT July 22, 2014 The American League East is so woeful these days that, yes, even Chase Headley could make a difference.

The New York Yankees (50-48) may only be two games above .500, but with the rest of the AL East playing just as mediocre, they showed Tuesday they plan to do everything humanely possible to stay in the race, acquiring Headley from the San Diego Padres.

The Yankees sent infielder Yangervis Solarte and minor-league pitcher Rafael De Paula to San Diego, while the Yankees get $1 million in salary relief (as if they need it).

Yes, this is how poorly Headley has played too, hardly living up to his $10.5 million contract after being the best player in the National League for two months back in 2012, leading the league with 115 RBI while hitting 31 homers.

He hasn't been the same since those magical two months.

Then, of course, neither has the Yankees, who are in danger of missing the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time in the Derek Jeter era.

The Yankees are banking that Headley, hitting just .229 with seven homers and 32 RBI, along with a .296 on-base percentage and .355 slugging percentage, benefits from a change of scenery. He's going from a dreadful team and empty pitching-friendly stadium to a contender with great crowds that can be hitter friendly.

Certainly, the Yankees can use some help at third base. Their third basemen, with Alex Rodriguez suspended for the season, have been averaging .245 with 14 home runs. And Headley has been hot of late, batting .339 with four doubles one homer and eight RBI in 13 games since July 4.

If nothing else, the trade shows just how vulnerable the entire AL East is these days, which could dramatically impact the July 31-non-waiver trade market.

The Tampa Bay Rays, who planned to put ace David Price on the trade market when they were 18 games under .500 on June 10, now may keep him. They've won 14 of their last 18 games, and 23 of their last 34, pulling within 7 ½ games of the Baltimore Orioles..

The Boston Red Sox, who planned a fire sale, now are putting out their own fire by winning five consecutive games around the break.

The Toronto Blue Jays, once perched atop the AL East, are fading, losing 16 of their last 25 games.

And while the Orioles are in first place, everyone wonders if it can last, with their first 26 games after the All-Star break against teams with winning records.

So why shouldn't the Yankees go for it?

Why not do everything in their power to have Jeter go out a winner?

The Yankees are old. They're flawed. They have four-fifths of their original starting rotation on the disabled list.

But considering the AL East has never been worse since its current alignment in 1998, the Yankees are in prime position to win this thing.

Chase Headley has never looked so good.

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