Plenty involved, plenty underwhelming.

That has been the synopsis of the San Francisco Giants’ post-World Series offseason to this point. The team has been heavy in the rumor mill and has handed out lucrative offers to the likes of Pablo Sandoval and Jon Lester only to see them rejected.

The failed attempts have left the franchise without a blockbuster acquisition as Christmas approaches while three other teams in their division—the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks—have made significant moves to make themselves better now and in the future, and none seem to be content with where they stand.

The Giants responded by throwing a couple of pebbles into the Pacific Ocean on Friday afternoon, trading for 32-year-old third baseman Casey McGehee, per Jon Heyman of, to replace the departed Sandoval and re-signing starter Jake Peavy. They are small moves and do not necessarily make the Giants a better team or the favorite to win the National League West.

As Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles wrote about the trade:

“…McGehee will probably not hit poorly enough to get released.”

The Peavy signing is logical. He performed well once moving to the National League last year after a disastrous first 20 starts with the Boston Red Sox. Peavy ended the regular season with a 2.17 ERA with the Giants, and considering their needs in the rotation, he is a nice fit at two years and $24 million. Even if he will be 34 in May.

McGehee was the NL’s Comeback Player of the Year after hitting .287/.355/.357 with a .712 OPS. He hit 29 doubles but only four home runs, while hitting into a league-leading 31 double plays. Overall, he was an average hitter (99 OPS-plus) with slightly below-average defense at third base a year after playing in Japan.

That makes McGehee a downgrade for the Giants. When compared to Sandoval, McGehee is a weaker defender with less power and a higher propensity to strike out but a higher on-base percentage.

McGehee had breakout seasons in 2009 and 2010 with the Milwaukee Brewers, hitting 39 home runs and driving in 170 to go with an .823 OPS.

At that time, he was a wonderful complement to Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart. In his two major league seasons after that, McGehee was so bad offensively that the New York Yankees eventually sent him to Class A for a short time before he made his way to Japan for the 2013 season.

What can be scary is that so much of McGehee’s offensive value is tied to his batting average, which was 18th-best in the league. As Brisbee also notes, any regression in that category, added to his inabilities to hit the ball out of the park and stay out of double plays, significantly hinders his overall value.

ZiPS projects Giants fans won’t spend a ton of time hating this deal, though (via ESPN’s Dan Szymborski):

There is another side to this McGehee trade that could make it a fantastic move by the time April rolls around. He is projected to earn about $3.5 million next season, per Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors, which is somewhere around $15.5 million less than what the Giants would have paid Sandoval in 2015 had he re-upped. That leaves the door wide open for the Giants to add a front-line starting pitcher.

With questions surrounding Matt Cain after his elbow surgery, Jake Peavy’s effectiveness at age 34 and how Madison Bumgarner will bounce back from pitching 270 innings last season—his highest total ever by more than 45 innings—the Giants could certainly stand to keep playing in the free-agent market.

If we assume the Giants are not willing to go beyond the $150 million or so they offered Lester, that fact takes them out of play for Max Scherzer but leaves them major players for James Shields.

While older and with more innings on his arm than Scherzer or Lester, Shields is not likely to cost nearly as much as either and is an effective innings-eater. Shields could also benefit from the National League lineups and the big, pitcher-friendly NL West ballparks, although they aren’t much different than the ones in the American League Central.

Since the Giants don’t have the personnel resources to make a trade for guys such as Cole Hamels or Johnny Cueto, Shields makes the most sense. Plus, he also is affordable enough that the Giants can still find a left fielder, although that well is drying up quickly.

The spare cash could also land the Giants Cuban pitching prospect Yoan Lopez. Lopez is 21 with a high-90s fastball and plenty of upside. The team’s interest makes sense since the Giants were also in on Cuban defectors Jose Abreu, Rusney Castillo and Yasmany Tomas.

Whatever the Giants decide to do, they have options that are not necessarily limited by a lack of funds. The money is there, and this McGehee trade is partly the reason. If the journeyman third baseman can help the club add a big-ticket pitcher, this trade will be a win.

If the Giants cannot land another impact starting pitcher, the McGehee trade will not only be a downgrade at third base, it could also anger a fanbase that has sold out AT&T Park for the last four years.

Here’s to Giants fans hoping general manager Brian Sabean hasn’t finished maneuvering.


Anthony Witrado covers Major League Baseball for Bleacher Report. He spent the previous three seasons as the national baseball columnist at Sporting News, and four years before that as the Brewers beat writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Follow Anthony on Twitter @awitrado and talk baseball here.

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