Casey McGehee is headed to the Giants in exchange for minor league right-handers Kendry Flores and Luis Castillo. ... it’s a pretty low-risk move. After rumors earlier in the day that the Giants were giving up Hunter Strickland or Matt Duffy, they ended up shipping out two pitchers who are not top prospects.
McGehee was a league-average hitter last year by OPS+ (he was at 99) and he dropped off big time in the second half, but he still finished with a .355 OBP last season, he’ll come relatively cheap ($3.5 million in arbitration is the MLB Trade Rumors estimate) and he has a great nickname (Hits McGehee).MLBTR also had a good account at their site. It noted his journey to Japan in 2013 and his second half falter.
I would not have been happy if we lost Strickland or Duffy, not happy at all. I was a little shocked that Flores got shipped, as I liked him, and he has a high K/9 and great K/BB, but I trust the Brian Trust on the Giants to not ship off players who will turn out to be great (average maybe, but not great). Still, only 22 YO, 9.5 K/9 and 3.50 K/BB in Advanced A ball. I guess I have some bias, as I noticed him a couple of years ago while checking the minors.
I like McGeHee, partly because he's a local kid (born in Santa Cruz and went to school at Soquel). If he can hit like he did in 2014, then he's a good addition, but if anything like 2011-2012, then no so good. How someone can go from hitting 23 HR in 2010, in a full season, to only 4 HR in 2014 in a full season, I'm not sure. Of course, he could have peaked early, had his prime season when he was 26-27 YO, it does vary, and some studies suggest that physical peak does come early, not around 28-30 as some other studies suggest.
But he has a good contact rate and a good walk rate, so at minimum, with good peripherals like that, I believe that he's a good hitter who can get on base a lot. That's valuable almost anywhere in the lineup. And with his high GDP numbers, maybe he should be batting 8th, where the pitcher can sacrifice him to second, and then the top of the lineup can work to get him in.
It was mentioned in the article that McGehee had a big second half falter. Looking at his stats, it looks like he had a very high LD% all season long, which helped with his resurgence in the first half, but then apparently the line drives and balls weren't falling in for the second half, leading to a BABIP of .306 from July to September, and a batting line of .265/.332/.328/.660. Unfortunately, we don't know if the second half was simply a regression to the mean from the first half, or a regression to his prior poor performances.
Still, there are still some positives to see here, a risk/reward type of situation. At worse, he has opposite platoon numbers, with a better average vs. RHP, so perhaps the Giants are seeing a platoon situation here with Arias taking the LHP AB's. Defensively, he's not all that good at 3B (he hasn't really played enough at 1B or 2B to judge, but he's been average there), so it could be situation where Arias comes in late games for defensive purposes. If he can hit like he did last season, then that's a bonus.
Perhaps the Giants think they can "fix" him. I looked into his stats and the difference between him early in his career and now is that back then, he could hit LHP, which only makes sense, he's right-handed. Perhaps he needs some tweaking of his mechanics so that he can start taking advantage of his righty-lefty advantage once again. That's risk reward too.
I would have been happier letting Adrianza and Duffy fight to win the starting role at 3B, but I guess now Ehire's on the bench and Duffy will start in AAA. And if he can hit close to what he did in 2014, then that is good enough production. And at worse, he only costs around $3.5M (arb yet to be determined), and then Adrianza and/or Duffy get their chances at starting at 3B, much like Adrianza got a chance at 2B in 2014. And this is a typical Sabean move, get a vet to see if they can get a bounce-back type of year, but if not, then the young guys get their chance.
Now lets see what they do about LF, if anything. Appears that the shopping is almost done.