Casey McGehee Is Now Very Available

Dave · December 12, 2011 at 10:52 am · Filed Under Mariners 

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.

Comments

41 Responses to “Casey McGehee Is Now Very Available”

  1. Adam B. on December 12th, 2011 11:12 am

    I like this idea a lot.

    I hope the M’s jump on him and get another low-cost, high-upside position player in the fold.

    …I can already hear the screams of “He’s no Prince Fielder!” already emanating from the Geoff Baker crowd.

  2. diderot on December 12th, 2011 11:19 am

    Was he drafted while Jack was in charge?

  3. Mariners35 on December 12th, 2011 11:52 am

    It shouldn’t cost too terribly much to acquire him

    What would your guess be? I don’t know the Brewers org so I don’t know what their needs are in trade.

  4. greentunic on December 12th, 2011 11:54 am

    I’m not sold.

    Hearing that McGehee the “right type of RH bat” feels like when I read that Kotchman was a “high on-base guy” by the Mariner’s web site in 2009. Just because Kotchman has about 30 power and 40 on-base skills, that doesn’t mean he’s a high on-base guy.

    McGehee may seem like the “right type” of RH bat, but he isn’t a good one. I’m ready and willing to be convinced, but it hasn’t happened yet.

  5. Mariners35 on December 12th, 2011 11:57 am

    I can already hear the screams of “He’s no Prince Fielder!” already emanating from the Geoff Baker crowd.

    To be fair, even if the M’s got him, that crowd would likely spin up with “He’s no Albert Pujols!”.

  6. JoshJones on December 12th, 2011 12:04 pm

    It really depends on what he’s going to cost.

    In 2010 he was really really bad. But his career averages are the complete oposite. I realize Prince isn’t a fan favorite signing. But if we could sign Fielder and acquire Mcgehee it could put us right back into the “suprise team” conversation.

    Fielder (2011) .299/.415/.566/.981 38HR’s
    McGehee (2010) .285/.337/.464/.801 24HR’s.

  7. Dave on December 12th, 2011 12:04 pm

    McGehee may seem like the “right type” of RH bat, but he isn’t a good one. I’m ready and willing to be convinced, but it hasn’t happened yet.

    McGehee has a career wRC+ of 98, meaning he’s been almost exactly a league average hitter during his big league career. Last year, the average Major League third baseman had a wRC+ of 92, and only 10 teams in baseball got better than a 98 wRC+ from their third baseman. The Mariners third baseman last year combined for a wRC+ of 65. Sixty-five.

    For whatever reason, it seems like there’s now a large crowd of people who simply don’t understand that there’s value in non-elite players. There’s a huge gray area between superstar and crap, and you really need to understand that guys who can produce at about an average rate for a low cost are actually quite valuable.

  8. Mariners35 on December 12th, 2011 12:08 pm

    But if we could sign Fielder and acquire Mcgehee it could put us right back into the “suprise team” conversation.

    More like Fielder, Beltran and someone like a career-average Mcgehee. In addition to a bounceback from Guti and Ichiro. Oh, and healthy, productive seasons from Felix, Pineda, Smoak, Carp and Ackley.

    A lot has to go right this season to see even .500. I wouldn’t frame any particular signing about whether it makes the 2012 M’s into contenders. More like what it does for the long-term health of the club.

    Kind of like how Mcgehee is good as cheap filler to evaluate Seager, Liddi, etc. and see how screamingly urgent a real investment in 3b is, when the team has most of the rest of the roster at 0-2 WAR or better and is determining where to really upgrade.

  9. little joey on December 12th, 2011 12:09 pm

    Just a thought- the Brewers accidentally committed too much to Francisco Rodriguez, and they would greatly benefit from a utility player who could get on base, play the outfield, and provide late-inning defense at 3rd.

    KRod and McGehee for Figgins and Michael Saunders, with some money to even things out… anyone?

  10. greentunic on December 12th, 2011 12:25 pm

    McGehee has a career wRC+ of 98, meaning he’s been almost exactly a league average hitter during his big league career.

    If he can do that at Safeco, I’d love it. I worry about NL to AL transitions, though. Is it still commonly accepted that the talent pool is of higher quality in the AL than the NL? If not, a league average hitter for the Mariners WOULD be a welcome sight.

    I still don’t like his ’11 season.

  11. baseball2044 on December 12th, 2011 12:30 pm

    1) He was a rule 5 pick-up from Cubs so not a legacy Jack draft so we are not guaranteed to get him.
    2) If it keeps Olivo from hitting 5th next year, count me in.
    3) Main concern is he appears to be below average at 3B, so would need to ensure Seager or other stronger defensive 3B around to potentially come in for replacement.

  12. just a fan on December 12th, 2011 12:35 pm

    So I looked at Casey McGehee’s line, and it includes a big .306 to .249 drop in BABIP from 2010 to 2011.

    Me not knowing any better, I just look at the LD%, FB%, etc. to see if there’s any fluctuations there, and don’t see any. Are there some other numbers to look at, or does the LD%, FB%, etc. truly indicate the his BABIP drop was random fluctuation?

    Just curious. I’d appreciate any insight.

  13. just a fan on December 12th, 2011 12:39 pm

    For whatever reason, it seems like there’s now a large crowd of people who simply don’t understand that there’s value in non-elite players. There’s a huge gray area between superstar and crap, and you really need to understand that guys who can produce at about an average rate for a low cost are actually quite valuable.

    Man, I’ve been trying to fight the good fight over on that newspaper blog, and that’s very true. I don’t think people recognize that the M’s had a lot of lineups with 2 or 3 above terrible players.

    One of which was Brendan Ryan, which obviously doesn’t do much for the offense.

  14. Mariners35 on December 12th, 2011 12:42 pm

    just a fan – Are you the same alias there? I gave up on Baker’s blog a while ago and would be curious to see if you’re one of the regulars.

  15. Westside guy on December 12th, 2011 12:47 pm

    I think part of the problem is the M’s have been horrid offensively for two seasons in a row, and have seen a couple potentially-high-upside guys come in just to crash and burn. Right now, people don’t seem to trust anyone below the status of bonafide superstar to be able to come in and continue producing.

    I’m not arguing this is right, because I don’t believe it. But I can see why people who don’t look below the surface might think that way.

  16. eman on December 12th, 2011 12:51 pm

    Am I going crazy or are all the slash lines above messed up somehow. The OBP is lower than the BA in every single one. Probably just a simple mistake of putting up a OBP/BA/SLG line, but if it isn’t, there might have been something funky in whatever you used to make the splits. Otherwise, awesome post and like most of your analysis, I would love to see it happen.

  17. Madison Mariner on December 12th, 2011 12:54 pm

    Just a thought- the Brewers accidentally committed too much to Francisco Rodriguez, and they would greatly benefit from a utility player who could get on base, play the outfield, and provide late-inning defense at 3rd.

    KRod and McGehee for Figgins and Michael Saunders, with some money to even things out… anyone?

    I like the idea of such a trade for K-Rod and McGehee(if not those exact pieces), although living in Wisconsin(I’m still a Mariners fan, though), I know for a fact that the Brewers have a full outfield, with Braun, Morgan, and Hart, plus Carlos Gomez as a pretty nice 4th OF. At this point, Saunders’ stock is very low(and does he still have options?) and they may not really want/need him, even if it’s just at AAA.

    What the Brewers really need(now that SS and 3B are taken care of) is someone who could at least be a league average 1B–maybe we put Carp into that package instead and work out something. I get the sense that trading 2 players such as Figgins and Saunders for someone like K-Rod, who still has some value(even if comes with an expensive price tag since he accepted arbitration), would be a non-starter from the Brewers point of view.

    {The Figgins for K-Rod salary swap part makes sense, though, as the Brewers could rely on Figgins as a super-utility guy and the M’s could use a veteran set-up man/closer and be rid of Figgins, more importantly.}

    Of course, this may all be moot, as the non-tender deadline is tonight and McGehee may very well be freely available at this time tomorrow if he is not tendered a contract by the deadline tonight. I guess we’ll see.

  18. Dave on December 12th, 2011 12:56 pm

    The OBP is lower than the BA in every single one.

    You can’t draw a walk on a ball in play. You can, however, hit a sac fly which counts against your OBP but not your BA.

  19. Celadus on December 12th, 2011 1:03 pm

    greentunic:

    The Kotchman signing was reasonable.

    Kotchman had eye problems when he was with the Mariners that were discovered and corrected when he left.

    The thing to criticize here is the inability of the Mariner coaches, trainers, and medical staff to figure this out.

  20. eman on December 12th, 2011 1:06 pm

    Sweet! Thanks for explaining that.

  21. just a fan on December 12th, 2011 1:11 pm

    Mariner35 – I am kinda regular, but I was banned recently so it doesn’t show up. And honestly, my handle there is both political and disgusting, so I won’t muddy the USSM site with it.

  22. CCW on December 12th, 2011 1:45 pm

    For whatever reason, it seems like there’s now a large crowd of people who simply don’t understand that there’s value in non-elite players. There’s a huge gray area between superstar and crap, and you really need to understand that guys who can produce at about an average rate for a low cost are actually quite valuable.

    I think it’s because the Mariners have had such a tough time fielding league average hitters lately. We’ve seen so many guys who we hoped / expected to be average for their position just absolutely fall off a cliff that we’re afraid that if we sign a league average hitter, he’s going to do the same. Examples: Cust, Lopez, Guti, Byrnes, Figgins, Kotchman, all the catchers, Smoak, Ichiro, Saunders. I think it’s the same sentiment that causes people to covet Prince Fielder. We’ve seen so much out and out awfulness that we want to bring in a guy who is virtually guaranteed not to be awful. It’s also why people love Carp so much. He bucked the trend of sheer awfulness. That’s the explanation – not saying it’s valid or good.

    What’s ironic is that if the M’s could just get their hitters to league average, they’d have a real shot to contend, because of the potential for above average run prevention. Of course, that’s what we say every year – just get the offense to average, and you’ll see…

  23. The Ancient Mariner on December 12th, 2011 1:55 pm

    Umm, with the Brewers staring down a 50-game suspension for Ryan Braun to start the season, aren’t they going to hang on to McGehee until he completes (or appeals out of) it?

  24. greentunic on December 12th, 2011 2:43 pm

    The Kotchman signing was reasonable.

    I understand. I merely meant to point out that a player’s best tool is not always a good tool by MLB (and position) standards.

    I have to admit I am a bit biased because I love Seager. For him to not embarrass himself after such quick promotions at his age really impresses me. If we’re talking pure upside, I have to give the edge to Seager over McGehee. Alas, my expertise is obviously limited. So I’m really just along for the ride.

  25. Browl on December 12th, 2011 3:47 pm

    Seems to me like McGehee is still pretty good fit for the Brewers. They now have an oft injured third baseman in Ramirez and a lefty first baseman who might see some time in left field at the start of the year. If I were the Brewers I would hang on to him, and use Gamel in left field to facilitate some kind of McGehee/Nyjer Morgan platoon. I’m sure they will listen to offers but I wouldn’t be surprised if they actually wanted some real value back in a trade.

  26. thedude1987 on December 12th, 2011 3:56 pm

    Dave,

    Do you still think Luke Scott would help the mariners as he was non-tendered today. coming off shoulder surgery he should be cheaper than his arbitration price would have been.

  27. BackRub on December 12th, 2011 4:49 pm

    Hope this deal gets done. Would nice to see Luke Scott added, as long as front office thinks he can bounce back to pre-2011 levels.

    Casey’s split vs LHs in 2011 are…unusual. Small sample size but hitting just 1 XBH in 136 PAs vs LH, given a previous career iso vs LH of .227, is insane. His bb/k ratio wasn’t too far off career, and he hit more ground balls than usual, but not enough for his iso to completely fall off. Probably mostly the result of random variation, but still interesting.

  28. riversurge24 on December 12th, 2011 5:51 pm

    Well so much for that idea.. McGehee has already been traded to the Pirates.

  29. shortbus on December 12th, 2011 6:23 pm

    McGehee has already been traded to the Pirates.

    And for a reliever. Come on, Jack. Up the offer a bit.

  30. Shawnuel on December 12th, 2011 6:27 pm

    Crap! For Jose Veras. Seems all of Dave’s recommendations are getting snapped up.

  31. Slats on December 12th, 2011 6:34 pm

    Nice pick up for the Bucs! All they had to give up was Jose Veras. Good deal.

  32. Mariners2620 on December 12th, 2011 7:12 pm

    It couldn’t be more obvious that Jack Z is unwilling to commit anything to anyone, until Fielder signs somewhere. It appears to be a terrible idea, unless we in turn sign Fielder ourselves. This could prove costly if we wait too long, and therefore there are no longer any players to be had.

  33. philosofool on December 12th, 2011 7:41 pm

    Weird. I would have thought that between Pedro Alvarez and Brandon Wood, 3B would not be a position the Pirates pursued.

  34. 15thBanker on December 12th, 2011 7:47 pm

    Casey went to the Pirates, thankfully. If you think he’d be a good addition to this team, you didn’t watch him at all last year. He clearly just can’t hit major league pitching anymore. And defensively he’s not good. Might as well pick up Jose Lopez and stick him back there if you think McGehee has any upside.

    @MadisonMariner, I’m also in Madison, let’s be friends.

  35. Andrew34 on December 12th, 2011 7:53 pm

    It seems like Z is going all or nothing for the big man. If they don’t get him it looks like the market will be empty. Not that I am a big fan of getting him anyways, but Z appears to have put all his chips on signing him. Barring some un-foreseen trade this off-season could go bad in a hurry.

  36. Dave on December 12th, 2011 8:10 pm

    Kind of humorous that the Brewers traded McGehee for Veras, another guy I had identified as a good acquisition candidate in my second offseason plan post. At least I was right that they were both available…

  37. djw on December 12th, 2011 8:42 pm

    It couldn’t be more obvious that Jack Z is unwilling to commit anything to anyone, until Fielder signs somewhere.

    No, it’s not obvious at all. You could impose this narrative on the available raw facts we have access to, but you could also impose a variety of other narratives of similar plausibility on those same facts. You insist on seeing a drama, when what you’re actually seeing is just a bunch of marginally related stuff happening.

  38. make_dave_proud on December 12th, 2011 11:18 pm

    I’m grateful the M’s passed on McGehee, but this off-season is starting to shape up rather poorly right now.

    For a team with so many holes to fill, and replacement level players representing an upgrade in many cases, I’m surprised that JackZ hasn’t improved the team this offseason.

    No pun intended, but Fielder is becoming the elephant in the room. Given the M’s needs, and the fact that they haven’t done anything, sure sends a big signal that they’re waiting on Fielder.

  39. The_Waco_Kid on December 12th, 2011 11:48 pm

    That headline is now very outdated.

    Dave, how come the other GMs listen to you but not Jack Z?

  40. Madison Mariner on December 13th, 2011 2:38 am

    In other news, the M’s non-tendered C Chris Gimenez(not suprising, given the presence of 3 other catchers on the 40-man roster already) and RP Dan Cortes(more surprising, at least to me).

    Any chance Cortes re-signs with the M’s(either a major league deal or minor league deal), Dave and co.?

  41. Madison Mariner on December 13th, 2011 2:47 am

    Missed the chance to edit my above post, but my second, shorter paragraph should read

    ‘Any chance Cortes re-signs with the M’s on a minor league deal, Dave and co.?’

    Really no point to non-tendering Cortes and re-signing him to a major league deal, since he was pre-arbitration eligible, meaning he was at the league minimum in 2011 and would have been for 2012 as well(or slightly above). Can’t pay someone less than that, so I guess the only way the M’s would bring him back would be as organizational depth with a minor league contract and no committment to a 25- or 40-man roster spot. ;)

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