You know what they say – it ain’t over ‘til the 15th game of the regular season.

Just kidding. For the Padres, it was probably over by the 12th.

Still, Chase Headley returning to the lineup Wednesday does bring up some questions about the future. And not just: when will Game162 finally come?

The conundrum the Padres face with Chase is whether to trade him, extend him now, or wait to see how he fares before making a decision. But there’s also the matter of whether Headley would actually accept a deal the brass might offer before he becomes a free agent in two years.

In other words, while this is a test for the Padres, it could also be one for their star third baseman. Even if we knew the team was committed to a future with Headley – would Headley necessarily be committed to the team?

What I do know is this: If Padres ownership’s primary concern is winning – not pleasing the fans, not making a statement, but winning – then it should lock Headley up immediately. General Manager Josh Byrnes should tender a multi-year deal and dot all the i’s in the contract with hearts.

Chase’s 31-home-run, 115-RBI year in 2012 may have been mountains better than his previous four big-league seasons, but it wasn’t a fluke. It was the 28-year-old becoming the butterfly the Padres touted since they put him in their cocoon.

Headley is hardly the first ballplayer to become one with his swing later in his career. Hell, the first of Luis Gonzalez’s six straight 20-home-run seasons – which peaked with a 57-home-run year – came at the age of 31.

Had Headley’s All-Star-caliber numbers appeared Rosie Ruiz-style, with no forewarning or explanation, then it would be prudent for the Padres to wait to extend him. But when he’s developing exactly as planned? When he’s a .302 career hitter away from Petco Park, a stadium now custom-built for his bat? When you consider that his speed and defense can affect run production in a way that makes a sabermetrician’s slide rule explode?