Casey McGehee Is Now Very Available
The Brewers spent their remaining pile of money on Aramis Ramirez today, locking him into a three year, $36ish million deal to take over at third base for the club. While most people will see this move as evidence that the Brewers are out on Prince Fielder, I think there’s another Seattle tie-in here that should be more aggressively pursued. In part one of my offseason plan post, I advocated that the Mariners acquire Casey McGehee from the Brewers. Well, if his poor 2011 season and arbitration eligibility didn’t make him available, the Ramirez signing almost certainly does.
With Ramirez in the fold, McGehee’s only role with the Brewers is as a part-time first baseman, and with left-handed Mat Gamel penciled in at the position, McGehee would likely get the short end of the playing time stick in that job share. Even if he spells Ramirez at third occasionally and shares first base with Gamel, the Brewers probably don’t have more than about 250 plate appearances to offer him next year, and for a team on a budget, spending a couple of million on a reserve corner infielder is probably not a great use of resources.
So, the Brewers should be somewhat motivated to move McGehee, and the Mariners should be interested in acquiring his services. We’ve talked about the team needing a part-time third baseman, preferably a right-handed one, who could give the team a potential job share option with Kyle Seager at third base but could also step into the everyday role if Seager proves to need more time in Triple-A. We’ve also talked about what Safeco does to right-handed hitters, and the need for the right kind of RH bats in this stadium.
Well, McGehee is the right kind of right-handed hitter for Safeco Field. Here are his career splits, broken up by part of the field that he’s hit the ball to:
Left Field: 486 PA, .334/.333/.567
Center Field: 426 PA, .303/.296/.464
Right Field: 363 PA, .337/.328/.527
28.5% of all of McGehee’s balls in play have been hit to right field, and he’s been almost as productive when he goes the other way as when he pulls the ball to left field. In stark contrast to a guy like Willingham, McGehee has shown that he can use the whole field and be productive when he hits the ball to right, which would mitigate some of the effects of Safeco on his performance.
McGehee isn’t going to revolutionize the offense, but he checks a lot of boxes on what the team should be looking for in a third baseman – low cost, right-handed, potential role player with upside for more if need be. Between 3B, 1B, and DH, the Mariners could easily find 400+ plate appearances for McGehee even if he didn’t end up beating out Seager for the 3B job, and could provide some power from the right side that wouldn’t necessarily be neutralized by the team’s home park.
It’s hard to find a better fit for the role the M’s need to fill than McGehee, and with Ramirez’s signing, he just became highly expendable for the Brewers. It shouldn’t cost too terribly much to acquire him, and he’d be a great fit for 2012 team and potentially beyond. This is a move I’d like to see the organization make sooner than later.