*This column was originally posted on Baseball Hot Corner.
The search is finally over. Since losing out to the Boston Red Sox in the Pablo Sandovalsweepstakes, the San Francisco Giants have been rumored to numerous third basemen, but saw different names signed with different teams or traded elsewhere besides across the Golden Gate Bridge.
Down in Southern California, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been showing their version of Money Ball, while the San Diego Padres have decided to not be the worst offense since 1900, no matter how weird the lineup card will look and how bad their defense will be. Up in Northern California the Giants had been hiding behind the fog, with their two big moves consisting of re-signing Sergio Romo and Jake Peavy. Earlier today, the Miami Marlinstraded for Martin Prado from the New York Yankees, and with the outfield and second base locked up, Prado looked to be the next man at the hot corner in Miami. There was only one problem: Casey McGehee was still under contract with the Marlins, making him trade bait after his best season since 2010.
After spending a year in Japan, McGehee found a bit of a resurgence. In 160 games, he hit .287/.355/.357 and an OPS+ of 99. The 32-year-old also added 76 RBI, but only four home runs, average defense at best, a bWAR of 1.1 and led the league in double plays grounded into with 31. So, there’s two ways that Giants fans can look at this trade: The team could have went and got a better player than a free-agent-to-be that was a league average player or McGehee is a solid one-year replacement. Both are true.
There were probably better trade and free agent options, including Prado who will take McGehee’s place in Miami, but there are still positives and negative to this trade. The assumption is that the Giants did not give up any top prospects, so they didn’t pull a San Diego-style mistake by giving up a player like Trea Turner. On the flip side, the real problem is how much of a Giants-style trade this was. It was so obvious that Sabean would think, “Oh hey, the Marlins have an aging player that will be a free agent and surely won’t do what he did last year. Let’s go get him!” Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles put the trade in perspective with his “Casey McGehee or some shit” tweet this morning after Prado headed to Miami.
Okay negative Nancies, here’s the good news. At this point, there really weren’t that many more options. Sure, there were probably better ones, but there was no major third base move that would secure a repeat for the Giants.
Projections see McGehee as an average to above average — most likely league average — player in 2015.
Be mad if the Giants final chapter of their offseason book reads “The World Series champions re-signed Sergio Romo and Jake Peavy, plus traded for Casey McGehee a year after he had to play in Japan.” It’s too early to tell how exactly this trade will play out, but maybe McGehee will shrink three inches, gain 60 pounds, add another 10 pounds of pine tar to his helmet and bat, and then Giants fans can keep having their favorite third baseman waddle around the bases.