That's no false fun-fact. I'm not micro-dosing toad sweat. Headley hit three-seventy, raising his average to the respectable Jumbotron showcase of .285. For 31 days, we had a .370 masher at 3B - (albeit with lingering concerns about whether the ghost of Chuck Knoblauch was occupying his arm.)
In August, Headley tapered off slightly - a sweet .298. In September, he tumbled into the sinkhole - .179. Then again, so did everybody on that moribund, hell-bound team.
For the year, Headley finished at .259 and 11 HRs. Not bad, unless you're lashed to him like Ahab to the whale for four seasons.
I don't have to say what a disaster Headley has been thus far in 2016. Why dwell upon the kidney stones? He went 23 games without an RBI. He hit his first HR Friday. At one point, he was unable to even see the Mendoza Line, and but yesterday, he had the game-winning hit. It's still May. The tulips are blooming. The summer reruns are just beginning. Let's ponder the extremes.
1. Bad. This is a Stephen Drew re-enactment. His hits merely extend the Yankees' willingness to stick with him, and - frankly - we'd be better off if he goes 0 for May. This is a brutal assessment, but Yankee fans have seen this movie many times - Vernon Wells, Alphonso Soriano, Travis Hafner - going back to the 1980s, and the days of Danny Tartabull and John Mayberry. A former slugger comes to Gotham, falls off the table, and we burn six months, refusing to accept what everybody else knows. He's done. Every time we are ready to pull the plug, he hits a home run, so we extend the leash for another month. This is a nearly a uniquely Yankee phenomena, because of our over-reaching, Steinbrennerian hubris: We somehow think giving a guy pinstripes and the wistful romance of NYC means he will become 28 again. It can happen on a great team - (see Strawberry, see Gooden, see Reuben Sierra, et al) - but is this a great team? Nope. Done.
2. Good. He's going to conquer this slump and re-install himself as a legitimate major league third baseman. It's not out of the question. Right now, it's hard to imagine Headley hitting .370 for a week, much less a month. But the Yankees have him for two more long, potentially depressing years. We have no other 3B at the upper end of the farm system. (Reports on Rob Reysnyder playing 3B in Scranton are not pleasing, even though Refsnyder hit 2 HRs last night for Scranton.) Nobody is coming to save the day. If Headley could turn it around - well - we really don't have any other option, do we? He seems to be a good person. Then again, so were Drew, Wells, Hafner, all the others. Being a good person doesn't mean hitting.
Of course, there are always shades of gray. Headley could start hitting and throwing balls into the dugout. More than perhaps any other Yankee position, we have no fallback. This is what happens when the only thirdbaseman your farm system develops in 30 years is Mike Lowell, and you trade him for a bag of donuts. Why do the Redsocks consistently develop thirdbasemen - in the last 10 years, a Youkilis, a Middlebrooks* and now a Travis Lee, while the closest we come is a scrap pile acquisition of Yangervis Solarte? What is wrong with our farm system, and will we ever address this problem?
*(Before you note that Middlebrooks turned into a disappointment, in 2013 - their championship season - he hit 17 HRs.)