If you view baseball’s off-season through the eyes of the San Francisco Giants as the flea market that it is, then you know there are always going to be a few genuine treasures to be scooped up and some acceptable offerings available, but generally speaking not a whole lot more. Castoffs from one team are not likely to ignite any fires in a different venue.
On the other hand, Brian Sabean has consistently proven that he has the scouting combine in place, capable of furnishing relevant up-to-date information on a bevy of players and their circumstances. Take 32-year-old Casey McGehee, of the Miami Marlins, winner of the 2014 Comeback Player of the Year Award.
After 2010, in which he hit 23 home runs and knocked in 104 RBIs, McGehee cooled off, being demoted in August of 2012 to Class-A Charleston when the New York Yankees brought up Steve Pearce. McGehee then jumped to Japan in 2013, where he and fellow teammates Masahiro Tanaka and Andruw Jones led the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles to their first Japan Series title.
2014 saw McGehee return to MLB with the Miami Marlins where he had 177 hits, 29 of them doubles, and 76 RBIs. By comparison Pablo Sandoval had 26 doubles and 73 RBIs. McGehee smacked only four runs and hit into a league-leading 31 double plays in 159 games so he presents an enigma of sorts: a guy who has a lot working for him, with a couple of ugly warts.
A savvy GM has to read between the stats and assimilate what his scouts tell him, to differentiate between that which matters and all the chaff. A mere four home runs?
Power numbers have little part in discussion of AT&T Park.
At AT&T Park power numbers mean very little. The 29 doubles are what Sabean is focused on. The 31 double plays? McGehee hits the ball hard and he’s not a fast runner (4 SB in 2014).
With Joaquin Arias available for defensive purposes in the late innings, McGehee makes a lot of sense. McGehee committed seven errors in 2014 for a .979 fielding percentage, compared to Pablo Sandoval’s eleven errors/.960 fielding percentage.
His 1.1 million dollar salary does not smack of bling, but if you remember Pat Burrell’s last season with the Giants, he signed for one million dollars simply because he wanted a shot with a proven winner.
Though no one can predict how any given player will respond to a change of venue, this looks like an ideal match. McGehee is a solid defensive third baseman, he hits for average and he’s cheap. He is the prototypical Brian Sabean treasure.
Besides, how could a player named Casey possibly flop?