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Chase Headley expected to stay with San Diego Padres

BaseballSportsMajor League BaseballSan Diego PadresChase HeadleyLos Angeles DodgersMatt Kemp

ORLANDO, Fla. — The San Diego Padres expect to retain third baseman Chase Headley, a person familiar with the team's thinking said Sunday at baseball's winter meetings.

Headley is eligible for free agency after next season. He and the Padres have made little progress toward a long-term extension, even though he has said he would prefer to stay in San Diego and the Padres have said they would like to keep him.

However, setting a fair price appears to be a challenge, given that Headley was one of the best players in the National League in 2012 and slumped badly in 2013. The concern over which Headley another team might get has stalled trade talks as well. The Padres intend to listen to new offers but do not anticipate a trade.

The Padres' top priority at the moment appears to be the addition of a setup man to replace Luke Gregerson, traded last week to the Oakland Athletics for outfielder Seth Smith.

The Padres, in search of a left-handed hitter, agreed to the Smith deal after trying to trade for Chicago Cubs outfielder Nate Schierholtz and failing to reach agreement with free-agent outfielder Nate McLouth, who agreed Friday to a two-year, $10.75-million contract with the Washington Nationals.

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