Tag: Casey McGehee

Early Grades for All of the San Francisco Giants’ Offseason Acquisitions

The 2015 season is in full swing, and the month of April has been a tumultuous on for the San Francisco Giants. The Giants have a record of 9-13 and are in last place in the NL West. They trail the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers by 4.5 games.

Much has been made of the Giants losing Pablo Sandoval and Michael Morse in the free-agent market. In addition, general manager Brian Sabean was unsuccessful in landing a big-name player to bolster the pitching staff or add power to the offense.

The Giants struck out on Jon Lester and James Shields, two of their primary pitching targets this winter. In addition, as players like Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Michael Cuddyer and Hanley Ramirez all switched teams, the Giants went for a more cost-effective route.

Sabean ultimately brought in Nori Aoki and Casey McGehee to fill the spots vacated by the departures of Sandoval and Morse. In addition, non-roster invitee Justin Maxwell made the team.

The Giants also brought Jake Peavy and Ryan Vogelsong back into the fold. Both were free agents but elected to return to San Francisco.

These five players encompass the Giants’ offseason acquisitions currently playing on the 25-man roster. We will assess how each of them has done in April and provide them with a one-month grade.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.

Contract data courtesy of Baseball Prospectus.

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Casey McGehee Ready to Quietly, Cheaply Replace Pablo Sandoval

Casey McGehee isn’t Pablo Sandoval. He doesn’t have a cute animal nickname, and he’s never inspired anyone to wear a panda mask (that we know of).

Replacing Sandoval in the hearts and minds of San Francisco Giants fans is an impossible task. He was simply too big and beloved a figure in the Bay Area.

Yes, the comments he made recently to Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller may have tarnished his reputation, but they can’t erase his indelible postseason performances or reverse the Kung Fu Panda mystique. 

So the question isn’t if McGehee can be Sandoval; it’s whether he can approximate Sandoval’s production at third base for the defending champs.

At first blush, the answer looks like an unequivocal “no.” Sandoval is a 28-year-old two-time All-Star who just inked a five-year, $95 million deal with the Boston Red Sox.

McGehee is a 32-year-old journeyman who wound up playing in Japan in 2013.

Then again, McGehee signed a one-year deal in 2014 with the Miami Marlins, smacked 177 hits, second in the National League, and won the National League Comeback Player of the Year Award.

Let’s just go ahead and compare McGehee and Sandoval’s 2014 lines:

McGehee: .287/.355/.357, 4 HR, 76 RBI

Sandoval: .279/.324/.415, 16 HR, 73 RBI

The power disparity jumps out, and that’s significant on a Giants team that may not hit many balls out of the park. Other than that, though, there’s remarkable symmetry. 

McGehee’s past isn’t punchless. In 2010, he hit 23 home runs for the Milwaukee Brewers, and he clubbed 28 for the Rakuten Golden Eagles in 2013.

In fact, 2014 was just the second time in his MLB career that McGehee failed to post a double-digit home run total. 

What happened? Here’s how McGehee sums it up, per Sports Illustrated‘s Ben Reiter:

I didn’t go into the season saying I’m going to hit four homers or anything. [Marlins Park is] a big field. It’s a fast field. You get rewarded for hitting the ball down on a line. Part of it was by design. Looking back, there were times I should have been a bit more selective, drive the ball. I think four will probably be the outlier, I would hope.

AT&T Park, McGehee’s new home, is also a big yard and among the league’s most pitcher-friendly, according to ESPN’s Park Factors statistic. 

So his power could go missing again. At the same time, McGehee has used the spring to showcase why he can be valuable without the long ball. He hasn’t launched one in the Cactus League, but he was hitting .382 with four doubles entering play Monday.

OK, that’s the offensive side. What about the leather?

The newfangled defensive metrics give a clear edge to Sandoval, who posted a 3.5 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) last season, per FanGraphs, next to McGehee’s -1.6.

On the other hand, McGehee’s .979 fielding percentage paced NL third basemen, meaning he makes the plays he gets to. He’s steady, not flashy.

Really, that sums him up as a player—and highlights the biggest difference between McGehee and his gregarious predecessor. 

“I’ve got a job to do, and these guys in the clubhouse expect me to do my job,” McGehee said, per Carl Steward of the San Jose Mercury News. “It’s not going to be the same way Panda did it, but I think I bring a lot to the table and I hold myself to a high standard.”

The projection systems aren’t so high. ZiPS foresees a .258/.322/.357 line, and Steamer is slightly more pessimistic, per FanGraphs

Squint at that spring line, though, swill a little exhibition-season Kool Aid, and imagine McGehee repeating last year’s stats with an uptick in power.

Considering he’ll make just $4.8 million in 2015 and the fact that he cost the Giants a pair of Single-A arms, he could end up being one of the offseason’s biggest bargains.

Just don’t ask him to sell any panda masks. 


All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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Predicting the San Francisco Giants’ Starting Lineup Heading into 2015

The San Francisco Giants have won three World Series titles in the past five years. Manager Bruce Bochy guided his team through several peaks and valleys in 2014.

His calm demeanor was a soothing influence when the Giants struggled in the middle of the season. Bochy then pushed all the right buttons, and the Giants produced, enabling them to win it all.

The Giants held a parade throughout the streets of San Francisco. Dignitaries, players and management all spoke, and they lauded both the team and the fans of San Francisco. It was a good time had by all.

The business of baseball has now taken center stage, and the Giants are retooling their roster in the hopes of defending their world championship.

General manager Brian Sabean has not landed any of the high-priced, marquee names on the market. Instead, he and the Giants resigned some of their own free agents, like Sergio Romo and Jake Peavy.

In addition, the Giants made a small but significant trade with the Miami Marlins. They acquired third baseman Casey McGehee in exchange for two minor league pitchers.

We could still see one or two more moves from Sabean, but don’t count on it. The roster is fairly set, and although the Giants would like to add another top quality starting pitcher and a left fielder, getting those players is definitely not a sure thing.

Let’s take a look at the lineup as it stands now. 

All stats are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

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Giants Tread Lightly in Fluid NL West with Casey McGehee, Jake Peavy Moves

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 CBSSports.com, 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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Casey McGehee to Giants: Latest Trade Details, Comments and Reaction

Few teams have been as active this offseason as the Miami Marlins. The latest reported move up their sleeve involves third baseman Casey McGehee. The team announced the deal on Friday night, according to Chris Haft of MLB.com.

“The Giants filled their third-base vacancy on Friday night, announcing they obtained Casey McGehee from the Marlins for a pair of Minor League right-handers,” wrote Haft. 

The Giants confirmed the players involved in the trade:

John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle passes along comments from Bruce Bochy and GM Brian Sabean:

Alex Pavlovic of the Bay Area News Group provides comments from McGehee, who spoke about replacing Pablo Sandoval:

Rodriguez noted on Twitter that McGehee was likely the next player to be moved by Miami after the team acquired Martin Prado from the New York Yankees earlier in the day:

 It’s a deal that makes sense for both sides. The Giants desperately need to find another bat, particularly a third baseman after Pablo Sandoval signed with Boston earlier this winter. McGehee isn’t the hitter Sandoval is, but he is coming off a breakout season with a .287/.355/.357 slash line.

McGehee did that at the age of 31, and the average and on-base percentage totals are substantially higher than his .264 and .324 career marks, but the Giants need something to get by in 2015 after missing out on all their main targets (Sandoval and Jon Lester). 

Giants general manager Brian Sabean said in early November, before Sandoval signed with Boston, that the team would have to find a replacement for Sandoval outside the organization, via ESPN.com.

“We don’t have a solution in house, so it would have to come from the outside,” Sabean said. “I’m not going to address anybody at this time other than Pablo; that’s who we’re engaged with. It wouldn’t be fair to the other guys.”

The Marlins have gotten better in the offseason with all their moves and should be able to compete for a playoff spot in the National League. The Giants haven’t made a big splash after winning the World Series, but they often seem to defy all expectations. 

Both teams solved a problem with this trade, making it a clear win-win at this moment. The final results won’t be known until the season starts, but for now, it’s hard to find fault with either side. 

Stats via Baseball-Reference.com


If you want to talk sports, hit me up on Twitter. 

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Are 2014 AL, NL Comeback Winners Good Bets to Sustain Future Success?

Major League Baseball announced the 2014 Comeback Players of the Year in the American and National Leagues on Friday, and they got both of them right.

Seattle Mariners right-hander Chris Young was bestowed with the honor in the AL, after the 35-year-old pitched to a 3.65 ERA over 165 innings and cemented the back end of the team’s starting rotation with 12 wins in 29 starts.

Young spent the 2013 season with the Nationals, but injuries prevented him from reaching the major leagues. He managed to log just 32 innings at Triple-A Syracuse, where he registered an ugly 7.88 ERA and made only seven starts.

A clause in Young’s contract allowed him to opt out of his deal at the end of spring training, and soon thereafter he caught on with the Mariners. The veteran turned out to be a bargain for the M’s, costing them only $1.25 million on the year.

In the NL, the award went to Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Casey McGehee, who batted .287/.355/.357 with 76 RBI in 160 games. McGehee’s season was made all the more impressive by the fact he spent 2013 playing for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan. The Marlins signed him last December to a one-year, $1.1 million contract.

But what should we make of McGehee and Young’s newfound success, and, more importantly, what should we expect from them moving forward?


Casey McGehee: Secret to His Success

A year removed from playing overseas, McGehee enjoyed his best season since 2010, batting .287 with a .712 OPS. The 32-year-old’s success at the plate was a product of an 18.2 percent line-drive rate, his highest since 2009, per FanGraphs, when he broke through as the Brewers’ everyday third baseman.

McGehee also made contact at a career-high 84.7 percent clip this season and did so 90.4 percent of the time on pitches within the strike zone, per FanGraphs. The right-handed hitter’s knack for making consistent contact resulted in the lowest whiffs-per-swing rate of his career, according to BrooksBaseball.net.

Finally, McGehee used the opposite field more often this season, seemingly scrapping the pull-side tendency he showed in previous seasons in favor of a more contact-oriented approach in which he drove the ball from line to line, per BrooksBaseball.net.



Though he batted .287 and drove in 76 runs in 691 plate appearances, McGehee’s 102 wRC+ (adjusted runs created) was only a tick above league-average. His 2.0 fWAR tells a similar story, and that includes his modest defensive contributions.

In general, the 32-year-old’s overall production was inflated by career-best strikeout (14.8 percent) and walk (9.7 percent) rates, as well as a batting average on balls in play of .335, well above his .297 career average.

And while he put the ball in play often, McGehee’s high contact rate also produced the most double-play ground balls in all of baseball (31), per Baseball-Reference.com.

We shouldn’t discount McGehee’s improvements from this past season, but a healthy chunk of his success was clearly rooted in luck and above his career norms, thus making it difficult to imagine him putting up similar numbers in 2015.


Chris Young: Secret to His Success

First and foremost, Young, an All-Star back in 2007, managed to stay healthy for the entire season, posting his highest innings-pitched total (165) since 2007, when he was still a member of the San Diego Padres.

He told The Washington Post in the spring, via Paul Hagen of MLB.com:

I’ve battled shoulder stuff, really, for the last five years. And last year, when they finally said this is a nerve issue … my shoulder feels like it did five, six years ago. I’m really excited about it. I expect it to stay that way. It’s the best it’s felt in a long time. I want to get back to being the pitcher I can be.

In terms of performance, according BrooksBaseball.net, the 6’10” right-hander thrived at the top of the strike zone this season, likely a result of the deception he created by working from a lower release point. This was especially true against right-handed batters.

Young’s velocity also was up across his entire arsenal this season, per BrooksBaseball.net, as his fastball sat above 86 mph (86.2 mph, to be exact) for the first time since 2009. Meanwhile, Young threw both of his breaking balls (curveball and slider) nearly two miles per hour harder this year than he did in 2012, marking the first time in his career he’s posted positive pitch values with both offerings, per FanGraphs.



Unfortunately, a majority of Young’s statistics from 2014 suggests that he was the beneficiary of luck.

Though he finished the season with an attractive 3.65 ERA, Young’s FIP sat at significantly less attractive 5.02 due to career-worst nine-inning rates in strikeouts (5.89 K/9) and home runs (1.42 HR/9), per FanGraphs, the latter of which coming despite pitching in a pitcher-friendly park.

On top of that, Young stranded baserunners at a 75.1 percent clip this season, well above his career rate of 72.8 percent, and posted the lowest ground-ball rate (22.3 percent) among all qualified starters, according to FanGraphs. Meanwhile, opposing hitters’ .238 batting average on balls in play against Young was the lowest since 2006 (.226), his first year in San Diego.

And then there’s Young’s alarming injury history, which can be found over at Baseball Prospectus, which features two separate shoulder surgeries, four stints on the 60-day disabled list and a host of other arm ailments, highlighting why he’s never logged more than 179.1 innings in a season since breaking into the league back in 2004.

It is worth noting that he struggled down the stretch during the regular season, going 0-3 with an 8.35 ERA over his final five starts, and he even had manager Lloyd McClendon skip one of his turns during that time frame.

Lastly, the 6’10” right-hander’s vertical release point has dropped every season since 2008, according to BrooksBaseball.net, and it’s safe to assume that his litany of injuries has played a role in that trend.

Generally speaking, a perennially lower release point puts extra stress on the shoulder and therefore increases a pitcher’s chances of suffering an arm injury—which might explain Young’s track record of such injuries throughout his career. It certainly raises doubt about his durability moving forward.


Arbitration and Free Agency

McGehee, after a full season back in the major leagues, is eligible for arbitration for a second time and expected to earn $3.5 million, according to MLB Trade Rumors’ Matt Swartz. He’s set to become a free agent after the 2015 season.

Young, on the other hand, is now a free agent after completing his one-year contract with the Mariners. The 35-year-old veteran is sure to catch on with a new team given his success this past season, but it’ll likely be another one- or two-year deal due to his extensive injury history and obvious overachievement.

Following the season, Young expressed a desire to return to the Mariners next season, via Greg Johns of MLB.com:

“I absolutely love it here,” Young said. “This has been one of my most favorite baseball experiences. I love the team, love the staff, love the organization, love the city and my favorite Major League ballpark. There’s not a negative here. This place is unbelievable.”

FanGraphs’ Dave Cameron also sees Young pitching in Seattle next year, predicting that the right-hander could receive a one-year, $6 million contract.

However, there should be other teams willing gamble on Young at that price, especially ones in need of a veteran presence at the back end of the starting rotation.

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New York Yankees: Grading the Bombers’ Trade Deadline Moves

The non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone, and as has become the “Yankee Way,” Brian Cashman and the Yankees‘ front office made a couple of minor moves without pulling off a blockbuster deal.

Cashman made two small upgrades to his first-place team’s roster, acquiring outfielder Ichiro Suzuki from the Seattle Mariners for minor league pitchers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar on July 23, and acquiring infielder Casey McGehee from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Chad Qualls just before Tuesday’s deadline.

Both deals are low-risk, medium- to high-upside moves that made sense. But the best moves the Yankees made at this year’s trade deadline are the trades Brian Cashman did not make.


July 23, Yankees acquire OF Ichiro Suzuki, Grade: A-

This was a prudent move for the Yankees.

After finding out the Brett Gardner would miss the duration of the season due to elbow surgery, the Yankees were looking at playing the final two months and the postseason with Raul Ibanez (40) and Andruw Jones (35) forming a platoon in left field.

Both players have done well in that role so far this season, but it’s questionable whether either would be able to keep up their performance for two more months at their ages. Neither has any speed, either.

So the Yankees traded for Ichiro, a 38-year-old outfielder who, at worst, comes relatively cheaply and gives the Yankees superb outfield play and the speed element they were lacking. At best, he is a dynamic offensive player who started his career with 10 200-hit seasons and seven times led the American League in hits.

This is the definition of a low-risk, high-reward trade.


July 31, Yankees acquire 1B/3B Casey McGehee, Grade: A-

This is another deal that comes with absolutely no risk and some upside, albeit not as much upside as the Ichiro trade gave the Yankees.

First is the cost. The Yankees gave up Chad Qualls, a reliever who was about to be designated for assignment as soon as Joba Chamberlain was ready to come off the DL. Chamberlain was supposed to make one more rehab appearance, but was instead activated Tuesday after the trade. So, in essence, the Yankees gave up about two days of Chad Qualls’ services.

In acquiring McGehee (via Yahoo!), they gained a corner infielder with a right-handed power bat who can fill in for Alex Rodriguez as he misses time with a broken hand.

McGehee has played primarily at first base with the Pirates this year, but has also been the Brewers‘ regular third baseman in the past. He’s not good at the hot corner, but is serviceable.

He doesn’t hit for average; he’s a career .260 hitter with a .316 on-base percentage. But he does have eight homers in 265 at-bats and his career high was 23 home runs in 2010.

I’m skeptical about how much the Yankees will get out of McGehee, especially since A-Rod will come back eventually and probably take McGehee’s roster spot regardless of his performance, but they gave up virtually nothing. It was a good deal to make.


Overall Grade: A

At the end of the day, though, the Yankees did well at this year’s trade deadline because they did not trade any of their top prospects for a player they did not need.

Yes, the Yankees have been slumping. But they still have the best record in the American League and will almost assuredly win the AL East.

The offense is solid, and they made a deal to improve on their main weaknesses in left field and lack of speed. Russell Martin has had a terrible season, but there weren’t many catchers on the market significantly better than Martin.

Many fans were clamoring for the Bombers to make a deal for Cliff Lee, or Ryan Dempster or another elite starting pitcher. While a deal for a top starting pitcher would have been nice, the Yankees’ rotation has been excellent this year, and fans should be confident with CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda and probably Phil Hughes as the team’s rotation heading into the playoffs.

Brian Cashman held on to Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin, Mason Williams, Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances and all of the team’s top prospects for the future, and he still has the best team in the American League.

The Yankees did well at this year’s trade deadline.

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MLB Trade Deadline: Yankees Land Casey McGehee from Pirates for Chad Qualls

The Yankees didn’t make the big splash at the 4 p.m. deadline for a player like Ryan Dempster or Matt Garza.

Instead, they made a trade more on need for third base, as they acquired third baseman Casey McGehee from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for reliever Chad Qualls, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.



The 29-year-old McGehee is only hitting .230 with eight home runs and 35 RBI in 92 games for the Pirates.

With the injury to Alex Rodriguez, breaking his hand on a hit-by-pitch by Felix Hernandez, the Yankees needed to find a more everyday replacement to step in.

Two years ago when he was with the Milwaukee Brewers, McGehee hit .285 with 23 home runs and 104 RBI, which are very good numbers.

McGehee is up for arbitration after the 2012 season and won’t be a free agent until at least after the 2015 season, so he’s not just a rental the Yankees picked up.

McGehee is only making $2.5 million in 2013, so the Yankees taking on his salary isn’t going to break their budget.

Not only can McGehee play third base, he could also play first base as well—giving Joe Girardi some versatility in his lineup with using players at different positions.

Qualls became expendable because the Yankees will activate Joba Chamberlain off the DL. So, just one month after getting him from the Phillies, Qualls goes back to the National League.

It’s a low-risk move for the Yankees with the potential of a high-reward if McGehee can hit like he did two years ago in Milwaukee.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman didn’t want to give away top prospects for rentals, but instead he traded for a guy with a low salary who he can control over the next couple of seasons who might be able to produce for the Yankees.

Will McGehee flounder under the pressure of the Bronx, or will he thrive in his new settings?

Only time will tell to see if Cashman pulled off another great trade that helped the Yankees.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.

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Milwaukee Brewers: Was Trading Casey McGehee a Mistake?

Casey McGehee, a dead fastball hitter, had the best season of his career in 2010.

The former Cub hit .285 with 23 home runs and 104 RBI in his first full season as a starter. Batting behind Prince Fielder, McGehee was a dangerous hitter. The Milwaukee Brewers thought they had struck gold by acquiring the third basemen from their bitter rivals, the Chicago Cubs. A year later, however, their thoughts had changed.

The then-28-year-old was mired in a season-long slump in 2011. His .223 batting average was the worst among starters in the National League. His power numbers decreased dramatically and no longer had the knack to drive in base-runners.

McGehee’s on base percentage dropped over 50 points. Pitchers were figuring out that McGehee had trouble hitting breaking balls and started avoiding giving him fastballs. The Brewers once-dangerous five-hole hitter was becoming a liability.

As the playoffs came around, manager Ron Roenicke had a decision to make. Should he stay with the struggling McGehee at third, or should he replace him with veteran utility player Jerry Hairston? Roenicke went with the latter, which turned out to be crucial to Milwaukee’s postseason success.

A little over a month after the 2011 season ended, the Brewers signed the 33-year-old and former rival Aramis Ramirez to a three year deal. Three days later, Milwaukee shipped McGehee off to Pittsburgh and acquired hard-throwing reliever Jose Veras.

Aramis Ramirez seems to be a home wrecker for Casey McGehee. The reason the Chicago Cubs placed McGehee on waivers was because they had no spot for him, as Ramirez was their third basemen. Now Ramirez comes to Milwaukee and kicks McGehee out once again.

After three seasons in Milwaukee, two of them as a starter, McGehee was given up on by the Brewers organization.

Although it is very early, people—myself included—are beginning to wonder if sending McGehee away will come back to haunt the Brewers.

Ramirez is a better third basemen and a more proven hitter then McGehee, yet he is four years older at the age of 33. After a dreadful season in 2010, he hit .306 with 26 home runs and batted in 93 in 2011, winning him the silver slugger award.

However, 2012 seems to be on it’s way to be a repeat of Ramirez’s 2010 season: He is in a 4-for-35 slump to begin his Brewers career, his on-base percentage is a pathetic .179 and opposing pitchers are no longer afraid to face him.

Granted, Ramirez is a notoriously slow starter. He is only a .250 hitter in the month of April. Still, his batting average is well behind that of.McGehee, who is hitting .308 to begin the new campaign. After striking out over 100 times a year ago, McGehee has only struck out twice in 26 at bats.

McGehee’s main focus during the offseason was to try not to do so much at the plate. “I think I’ve got plenty of baseball left in me to where I’m not ready to take on a coaching role,” he told the Bradenton Herald in late February.      

Milwaukee is paying Ramirez $6 million this year, and will eventually be paying him $16 million in 2014. If the Brewers had kept McGehee, they would be paying him a little over two million. If they had put more faith in McGehee, they would have had more money to try and sign Jose Reyes or make a bigger offer to Jimmy Rollins.

As Ramirez gets older, his productivity will decline, which is becoming more evident this year. The Brewers gave up on McGehee too soon and they very may well regret it in years to come. It will be interesting to compare Ramirez and McGehee’s stats as the season progresses.

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Fantasy Baseball Player Profile: Can Casey McGehee Keep Up His Production?

Casey McGehee is a player whose value could vary a great deal depending on who you talk to.

One thing is for sure, fantasy owners of Prince Fielder last year are certainly well aware of McGehee’s ability to scoop up base-runners and bring them home.  In 2010 Mcgehee drove in 104 runs while his more notable counterpart Fielder, had just 83.

Now let’s be honest here, we are not talking about a guy like McGehee for his speed.  His .288 lifetime average is respectable, but the value McGehee will show this year is directly tied to how many runs he can drive home. 

Some people think that McGehee’s RBI numbers last year were a mirage, and that more of them will be driven in by Fielder (who is in a contract year) and Braun.  That the RBI total was a quantified product of his 610 AB (7th most in NL). 

However, no one is questioning the likes of Ryan Braun to produce runs, and he had 619 AB’s with one less RBI than Casey did.

Am I implying that McGehee is the same caliber hitter as Ryan Braun?  Of course I’m not saying that, but there is good value to be had with a guy like him.  McGehee still has some possible room for growth too, if he can learn to start hitting right-handers with more authority.

In 2010 hit .316 with eight hrs in just 158 AB against lefties, while hitting .274 with 15 hrs in 452 ab’s against righties.

I believe that McGehee should have pretty similar numbers to what he posted last year, with maybe just eight to 10 less RBI to be predicting on the more conservative side.

Fantasy-wise he is a nice value pick in fairly late rounds, especially if you’re looking for some cheap quality run production that won’t punch a hole in your batting average.  The amount of value he can bring will mostly be on how well he can progress against right-handed pitching, since hoping that twice as many lefties will suddenly show up in the bigs is futile.

Be sure to tune in to plenty of MLB action this summer and find out what will happen when McGehee is up to bat.


Also Check out:

R.A. Dickey

Yadier Molina

Francisco Liriano

NL East

AL East

NL Central

AL Central

NL West

AL West

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