The Pirates have traded relief pitcher Jose Veras to the Brewers for corner infielder Casey McGehee.
I just started writing here the other day, if you don’t know me, I’m Jon Anderson from The “Mc” Effect blog. With the addition of McGehee, the Pirates now have six players that have last names that start with “Mc”, so this is kind of a crazy night for me. I’m going to post my logical, unbiased analysis of this move here, but if you want some comedy, head over to The “Mc” Effect.
Basically, this was just a move to put pressure on Pedro Alvarez. I do not think that Casey McGehee is a legitimate Major League starter. Sure, he had a huge 2010 season to the tune of .285/.337/.464 with 23 home runs and 104 RBI (not that RBI means anything, but still). However, McGehee was awful last year with a .223/.280/.346 line in 600 plate appearances.
It’s hard to just call that a down year considering McGehee’s past. He was a 10th round draft pick and he’s 29 years old already. He never slugged higher than .429 in the minor leagues, so he wasn’t some huge prospect coming up. The Brewers started him in 2009 and he played well, enough to earn himself a starting job in 2010, which he did extremely well with. However, he fell off the face of the earth in 2011 and showed why nobody was really excited about him when he was coming up through the system.
The guy never hit more than 12 home runs in his minor league career. His minor league career triple-slash line was .279/.332/.409, that’s not going to get many people too excited about a prospect.
That said, McGehee was extremely unlucky in 2011. He had a very low .249 BABIP, which means his batting average should have been better than it actually was. Also, McGehee’s HR/FB ratio was 8.6%, which was 3.9% lower than 2010. His walk rate stayed the same from 2010 at 7.5%, but his strikeout went up from 15.2% to 17.3%. The guy is not nearly as good as he showed in 2010, but he’s not nearly as bad as he showed in 2011 either.
All negativity aside, this is a very nice move to the Pirates. They lose a very replaceable Jose Veras, which is nothing to even consider crying about. They get a bat who has had success in the major leagues and definitely gives the 2011 lineup some upside. Also, they put some pressure on Pedro Alvarez and now have a pretty legitimate fallback options for him. It’s very nice that McGehee also plays first base (although this basically means the Pirates will not go after another first baseman like Carlos Pena or Ike Davis as I wanted them to). Garrett Jones seems to be sticking around, so the Pirates have some options at both corner spots, which is never a bad thing.
On the defensive side, 2011 was the other way around for McGehee. He was a very poor defender in 2010 at third base (-4.0 UZR/150), but got significantly better in 2011 (7.3 UZR/150). He’s a serviceable first baseman too, he’s no Derrek Lee, but he won’t screw it up too bad.
Bottom line: great move for the Bucs, but don’t get TOO excited.