Casey McGehee’s San Francisco Giants career was a short one, but memorable.
There are many players who played for the San Francisco Giants over the course of the past decade who you have probably forgotten about, and one player who falls into that category is Casey McGehee.
The Giants acquired McGehee as a replacement for Pablo Sandoval at third base after the Panda opted to sign with the Boston Red Sox following the 2014 season.
McGehee made sense as a possible stop-gap replacement for Sandoval considering he hit .287/.355/.357 for the Marlins the year before and earned a Comeback Player of the Year Award for his efforts. No one had any illusions that McGehee was a long-term solution, but many figured he would be serviceable for the team in 2015.
Sadly, that was not the case. McGehee struggled mightily right out of the gates, hitting a dismal .169/.222/.271 with only 2 RBI in the month of April.
May was not much better for McGehee, although his highlight as a Giant occurred on May 8 as he hit a grand slam to propel the Giants to victory over his ex-team, the Marlins.
Unfortunately, the grand slam was not able to get him back on track as he continued to struggle for the rest of the month. On May 24 he was designated for assignment and was optioned to Triple-A.
His bat got hot in Triple-A where he went 15-for-42 and earned himself a call-up back to the majors. However, by that point Matt Duffy was already proving himself to be a more than able replacement at third base so McGehee was relegated to bench duties.
He was unable to make enough of an impact off the bench to warrant a roster spot, so the Giants designated him for assignment yet again by the end of June.
It is also worth pointing out that McGehee was never outwardly bitter toward Duffy for taking his starting job and mentored him throughout his time in San Francisco no matter if he was in the lineup or on the bench. In a piece for The Players Tribune, Duffy shared what McGehee said to him after he was let go:
“Hey, they’re sending me out,’’ he said. “I just want you to understand that this isn’t your fault. You did what you were supposed to do — which is to force the issue. And you did that. You shouldn’t feel bad. You did great. When I was a rookie in Milwaukee, I took Bill Hall’s job — and I felt bad for a month. Probably more. I don’t want you to do that. That’s important to me. Do not feel bad for one second.’’
Although McGehee was unable to have the impact on the field that he wanted, his generosity towards Duffy shows just how good of a teammate he was and the kind of culture the Giants had established in the clubhouse.
Lest you think that was the last the baseball world ever heard of Casey McGehee, think again. After playing for the Marlins again in 2015 and then the Detroit Tigers in 2016, he was signed by the Yomiuri Giants, a Japanese baseball team based in Tokyo, in 2016.
In 2017, McGehee hit .315/.382/.514 with 18 home runs and 77 RBI for the Yomiuri Giants. He followed it up with a solid 2018 hitting .283/.335/.464 with 21 homers and 84 RBI. Plus, according to our own Dzintars Grinfelds, when he visited Tokyo a few years back and went to a Yomiuri Giants game, he tried buying McGehee’s jersey and it was sold out!
So even though McGehee was unable to deliver when he was with the San Francisco Giants, we can all take solace in the fact that a seemingly good guy like McGehee was able to have some success even after he moved on from San Francisco.
His story is somewhat reminiscent of current Giant Darin Ruf, who went overseas to South Korea after struggling for a few years in the MLB and hit very well. Then he came back to the states and put on a show for the Giants in spring training this year.
In all, McGehee’s story is a true story of redemption. He won Comeback Player of the Year, struggled for a few years after that, then was able to regain his form in Japan. If one believes in karma, then one must believe that McGehee earned some cosmic good will in how kind he was to Matt Duffy which came back around in his Japanese stint. Sometimes good things really do happen to good people.