Casey McGehee and the Opposite Field

Orioles pound Nova as Yanks lose fourth straight
Game 104: Just Win
(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The Yankees apparently had very real interest in acquiring Ryan Dempster prior to yesterday’s trade deadline (according to Joel Sherman), but they instead walked away having made just one minor move, sending Chad Qualls to the Pirates for corner infielder Casey McGehee. Considering that Qualls was on his way out once Joba Chamberlain was ready to come off the DL, give Brian Cashman credit for turning a completely disposable piece into a potentially useful one. Alex Rodriguez‘s hand injury created a need for some infield depth, and that’s exactly what they got.

McGehee, 29, is a classic right-handed platoon bat who can hold down both first and third base. He’s hitting .250/.344/.463 (119 wRC+) against southpaws this season and owns a .259/.327/.427 (100 wRC+) line for his career against pitchers of the opposite hand. McGehee had an excellent rookie campaign as a part-time player in 2009 (124 wRC+) and was solid in full-time duty in 2010 (114 wRC+), but he started to get exposed a bit with more playing time these last two seasons…

2008 25 CHC 9 25 4 1 0 0 0 8 .167 .160 .208 .368 -7 1 0 0
2009 26 MIL 116 394 107 20 1 16 34 67 .301 .360 .499 .859 126 13 1 2
2010 27 MIL 157 670 174 38 1 23 50 102 .285 .337 .464 .801 114 18 2 5
2011 28 MIL 155 600 122 24 2 13 45 104 .223 .280 .346 .626 69 19 1 4
2012 29 PIT 92 293 61 13 1 8 24 60 .230 .297 .377 .674 88 7 2 0
5 Yrs 529 1982 468 96 5 60 153 341 .260 .316 .419 .735 97 58 6 11
162 Game Avg. 162 607 143 29 2 18 47 104 .260 .316 .419 .735 97 18 2 3
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 7/31/2012.

The Yankees aren’t going to ask McGehee to play regularly, not unless something goes horribly wrong or he just hits the snot out of the ball and forces his way into the lineup. They acquired him specifically to combat lefties and provide some right-handed pop while A-Rod is on the shelf, presumably from the bottom third of the order. Don’t count on him being a savior.

One thing that McGehee really has going for him is his opposite field stroke (here’s some video), something he’s maintained even during his two subpar seasons. During his career he’s hit .336 with a .199 ISO on balls hit to right field, good for a 128 wRC+. The numbers since the start of 2011 are essentially identical, a .328 average with a .199 ISO and a 128 wRC+ that ranks 17th out of all right-handed batters with at least 100 balls in play to the opposite field. The 16 guys ahead of him are basically the best right-handed hitters in the world, I’m talking Matt Kemp, Ryan Braun, Andrew McCutchen, Miguel Cabrera … pretty great hitters. McGehee’s opposite field production is a notch below those guys but still very good.

Thanks to the magic of Texas Leaguers, we can take a quick look at his spray chart over these last two seasons…

Remember, the dots show where the ball was fielded by the defender, not where it landed. McGehee has hit 21 homers since the start of 2011 and I unofficially count 15 that have been hit out to right and right-center. Given the short right field porch in Yankee Stadium, he has a chance to be surprisingly productive if he just maintains his natural stroke and is platooned properly. Only half of that is under his control, it’s up to Joe Girardi to take care of the other half.

Once Mark Teixeira‘s wrist heals up and he’s back at first base full-time, I suspect we’ll see McGehee play third base against southpaws regularly while Andruw Jones starts at DH and Jayson Nix roams left field. He could make his Yankees debut as soon as this afternoon with the left-handed Zach Britton on the mound, though that depends on his travel schedule and what not. The Yankees aren’t going to be able to replace all that A-Rod gives them but they do have some solid substitutes. McGehee might work out or he might not (when the cost is Chad Qualls, the team is playing with house money), but he has the skillset to be productive in the role he’s being asked to fill.

Orioles pound Nova as Yanks lose fourth straight
Game 104: Just Win

    There is no doubt this a solid below the radar trade for cashman.. The right handed pop from this team is non-existent for the most part, even with Alex in the lineup.. So, its good to get a guy who can hit alittle better then Martin and An Jones as well as sock it outta the park..

    I think he’ll be a big help at the bottom of the order..

    • Ted Nelson

      McGehee isn’t hitting as well as Martin, let alone Jones.

      • Jacob

        you’re right, he is hitting better

        • JohnnyC

          Since the end of May, he’s batting .310 with 7 home runs and 25 RBI. He had a horrendous May (.104).

          • Jacob

            Right I am again, thank you for providing the stats +1 fo you

          • Ted Nelson

            Yeah. The way people reacted around here you would swear they’ve never watched a baseball season. Most non-elite guys slump. His wOBA was up to .340 right before that slump.

      • Adayoff

        It also means that against a lefty pitcher, the Yankees do not have to put Stewart behind the plate so that Martin is available at DH. We saw line up against lefties with Stewart catching, Nix at 3B, Jones in LF and Martin DH. Now, Martin C, McGehee 3B, Nix, LF and Jones DH. The upgrade is on offense McGehee for Stewart.

        I am not sure that I would rather have Nix than Ichiro in LF, though. I know that Ichiro has terrible splits in 2012 against Lefty pitching, but last year he was evenly mediocre. With Ichiro’s track record, I say that we treat his coming to NYY as a clean slate and let him play himself out of the daily lineup.

        • Cris Pengiucci

          Fair enough. Ichiro certainly adds a ton of D. I’m not sure Nix adds enought with the bat to offset the D advantage Ichiro has. Regardless of what others may say, there’s still time left this season to figure out the best options.

      • http://yes jim

        But, he already leads the team in walks!!!

  • JohnC

    Thanks for being a voice of reason Mike. I am glad we did not get Dempster. Last thing we need is another aging starter who would have cost us prospects and would not re-sign here anyway.

  • Typical MIT Nerd

    Seriously, we should give Cashman credit? Because he made a very minor move for a team that has severe problems – now and into the future?

    By next year they won’t have one regular in their 20s. Their catcher is replacement level with nothing close in the system to replace him. They clog their bench with old and brittle players who would have looked good on the 2002 Yankees, not the 2012 Yankees.

    With the players changing teams, and at the prices, the Yankees should have done better. Instead Ichiro offers little to nothing, their rotation is 1.5 deep, and they’re giving away at-bats with almost one-third of the lineup. Of course, they’re losing close games.

    • Mister D

      Brett Gardner not coming back?

      • Cris Pengiucci

        And he knows now who will be behind the plate and who will be playing RF? So glad he’s not running the team.

        • Typical MIT Nerd

          And….who will they sign to be the catcher and RF that come young and inexpensive?

          • Cris Pengiucci

            I’ll leave that to the experts. They may or may not make changes, but I have no idea what their thinking is and I doubt you do either. To definitively state “By next year they won’t have one regular in their 20s” is just wrong. While that might be the case in April (if Gardner doesn’t come back from his injury, which I think is unlikely), we won’t know till close to that time.

      • Typical MIT Nerd

        You know he is how? Plus, his offense has already peaked. If it slips any further from 2011, he’s finished. With an elbow injury, good luck with that.

        • Mister D

          So no assumptions on Garnder, and no assumptions on C or RF or DH, beyond the assumption those guys won’t be 29 or younger? Gotcha.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            I have plenty of assumptions about the MIT Nerd, though. Plenty.

            • Mister D

              Like the M doesn’t stand for Massachusetts? Samesies.

    • Chip Off The Ol’Knoblauch

      We should give Cashman credit because he turned Chad Qualls, a guy who you could replace with a watercooler with a smiley face painted on it and get essentially the same value, for a guy who’s got some opposite field power that can cover first and third in the wake of the Tex and Arod injuries. Should we heap tons of praise upon him for this? Probably not, but gotta give credit where credit is due.

      • MattG

        The water cooler keeps you hydrated…

        • vin

          Yeah, I agree. A water cooler is infinitely more valuable than Chad Qualls.

    •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

      “Severe” problems? Take a look around the league man and get in touch with reality.

      • MattG

        Projection at its finest. I think we know to what we can really attribute the severe problems.

    • MattG

      Cashman make me angry! Nerd SMASH!

    • http://yes jim

      Ichiro offers nothing? Just that one leaping catch at the wall was 100% better than ANDRUW JONES, and Raul Ibanez, who would’ve stopped at the edge of the warning track to wait for the ball off the wall!

  • Eddard

    I would hope that Casey would be at today’s game so that we can put the best lineup on the field vs the lefty. It’s as close to a must win as you can get. Win and the lead is back at 7. Lose and it’s down to 5 and the Rays and Sox are charging right behind.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      It’s as close to a must win as you can get.

      Not it’s not. Not by a long shot.

      That being said, yes, it would be nice to have Casey in the lineup today. A win would be even better.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      It’s as close to a must win as you can get.

      Wait…I could swear you’ve been saying the division race is over.

      So then how can it be even close to being a must win?

  • Typical MIT Nerd

    We should be excited about McGehee? Dude, you’re really stretching for positives. McGehee is the definition of replacement level. He’s awful. A sub-.300 OBP and barely makes contact and you’re impressed because they got rid of an equally awful reliever?

    They gave up 6 years of team control of Mitchell for the big nothing that is Ichiro today. Wise and Dickerson are clearly better options at this point. Awful.

    • JohnC

      Mitchell was never gonna be in the Yanks plans. Cmon dude, get with it!

      • Typical MIT Nerd

        Right cause Nova, Hughes, and Garcia are really nailing down rotation spots long-term. Meanwhile, the bullpen has looked fantastic lately!

        • Mike Axisa

          What do they have to do with Casey McGehee?

    • Darren

      No one said you should be excited about McGahaahee. It was a useful trade and, considering what we gave up, a good one. Nothing less, nothing more.

      Whether or not the Ichiro trade was bad or good (it was good – DJ Mitchell does not project as anything more than just filler), or whether Cashman should have made other trades (yes, he should have went for Cliff Lee) are separate questions.

      • Ted Nelson

        I think Mitchell can be pretty good “filler” out of the pen. I am fine with giving something to get something, just saying that I think Mitchell projects as a decent swingman/ reliever with a chance to be a back-end SP on the upside or AAAA on the downside.

    •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

      Dude, this is so poorly reasoned. You went/go to MIT?

      • JohnnyC

        Manhasset Institute of Tanning.

        • MattG

          The ‘T’ isn’t for ‘Troll?’ I’m chagrined.

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        If he does/did, I’m sure MIT isn’t too happy about him demonstrating that reasoning/logic isn’t a priority there.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Yes. Majoring in…..Social Work.

        (picked my own career this time)

        • Matt Warden

          Come on, guys. Don’t let this regress into pettyness. TMN is welcome to his opinions on the team — even they don’t match the majority’s.

          For what it’s worth, I think you’re being a bit bearish on this team though, TMN. They have their warts like every team in the league. However, they are also extremely talented and are not in first place by accident.

          Ichiro and McGehee are both smart moves for what they are designed for. Neither of these guys are long term, critical pieces of the Yankees plan. They are here for depth and to help the team win this year and I think as long as we keep their roles in perspective, we probably won’t be disappointed.

          • Robinson Tilapia


            God Bless You.

          • Ted Nelson

            It’s not his opinions so much as his logic contrasted against his cocky handle.

  • Robert

    Should of called up Laird or David Adams,This team needs Geritol.Sad to say it will be one and done as aging bats go silent in the playoffs against superior pitching!!! Just like the Tiger series last year..
    Kudo’s to Cashman for not giving up a prospect,only guy I would have sent anyone in the minors for would have been Cargo (Carlos Gonzalez)

  • Dropped Third

    Cashman not only got mcgehee for nothing he got paid a quater mill, I feel like he can mind f-ck shity gm’s….

    • Typical MIT Nerd

      Yeah, add up all the recent trades and he’s a regular wizard when it come to getting nothing for nothing.

    • Chip Off The Ol’Knoblauch

      I think Cash might’ve brought up how well AJ’s been pitching for the Pirates and kindly pointed out how much the Yanks are paying him to do it. What’s $250K between friends right?

      • Hubward

        Sure this worked its way into the conversation somewhere – heck the Pirates may even have suggested the cash as a thank you for AJ gift

  • Rich in NJ

    If the Yankees want to upgrade the rotation, they should give Phelps a shot. I thought that was why they stretched him out before his call up.

  • Billy

    Just wish Gumbs didn’t go down. A healthy Gumbs and Refnsyder wouldn’t be moved if they played together. Gumbs was putting up very respectable numbers before he went down and was overlooked because of Austin/Sanchez/Williams.

    • pat

      A healthy Gumbs and Refnsyder wouldn’t be moved if they played together.


      • Hoss

        Healthy Gumbs are important. Gingevitis is a bitch.

        • Fernando


  • Robert

    Saw Gumbs in Staten island last Summer. Kid will be a player!!!

  • JohnC

    Is Gumbs out for the season?

    • JohnnyC

      Should be back soon. Hurt his elbow on a swing on June 29.

      • http://BleacherReport CapnComeback

        That’s why I keep my kids off the swings.

  • MattG

    This is how much confidence I have in the Yankees’ management. Without knowing McGehee at all, and without looking it up, I knew he would hit lefties, hit them for power, and hit them the other way.

    Cashman knows how to get depth. Good job.

    • JohnnyC

      Deep depth?

    • Kosmo

      It´s funny to me the Pirates traded for Gaby Sanchez a player who has spent 1/2 the 2012 season in the minors trying to get his groove back on only to unload McGehee for a bag of Qualls. McGehee is a low risk high reward gamble. If he can hit .250 vs. LHP then great but I wouldn´t expect much from him. The Pirates were certainly happy to get rid of him. McGehee is not a difference maker. NY could just as well have given Laird a shot , he also can play 3B and 1B and hits lefties just as well.

      • Cris Pengiucci

        a bag of Qualls

        The new low trade standard!

        Considering Qualls was worth less than a bag of balls (he would have been released), McGehee, if he can perform to his season or career averages, will be well worth the price paid, especially while ARod is out. We have no idea if Laird can hit MLB lefties at all, let alone as well as McGehee.

        • Kosmo

          same applies for McGehee. If McGehee performed to his career ave. playing for the Pirates maybe they wouldn´t have traded for Gaby.

  • Dropped Third

    Street fight russ bus vs mcgehee, who you got?

    • JohnnyC

      Russ knows martial arts but McGehee looks like the type of ruffian who’d carry a concealed weapon. Just my impression. Don’t know the dude.

      • MattG

        Maybe. He could just be happy to see you.

        • Robinson Tilapia


        • http://BleacherReport CapnComeback


  • sevrox

    Is Mason Williams on the DL? Haven’t seen any update on the right for a bit…

    • Slugger27

      7 day DL

  • LiterallyFigurative

    It’s a good, small move. We don’t need any saviors, just for the main guys to hit and for the injured guys to return.

    Cano has been in a slump, Granderson has been striking out a bit too much lately (and that’s saying something), Jeter is what he is. The Martins and Ibanez and Chavez of the team are going to be hit or miss at different times. They are old/injury plagued players. Losing Alex and Tex makes the lineup really short.

    I dont’ see much that could have been done to really make the team better at the deadline. The offseason is where there is the possibility of big change to the everyday lineup.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      We don’t need any saviors, just for the main guys to hit and for the injured guys to return.


      Jeter is what he is.

      A .312 hitter without too much power? If he continues, I’m very happy to accept that.

      I dont’ see much that could have been done to really make the team better at the deadline.

      At least not at a reasonable cost. Hope the team starts putting it together again and performs well in the playoffs. With the desire to get under $189M in payroll, this is probably all we should have expected. I hope they make some good decisions and moves in the offseason (after winning the WS this fall. Gotta continue to hope for that.)

  • not that mike

    it seems this is the type of deal cashman likes to make – a under-the-radar move to tweak his team at no real cost.

    I like these types of moves, but it seems to me its more to impress people at the GM meetings to show how he is actually an effective GM than to build a juggernaut.

    the last time Cashman got pissy and was forced to act like a bully (because his job was in jeopardy if he mieed the playoffs again in 2009 with a new stadium) he spent 500 million dollars, and since the Yanks have a WS victory, and were in the ALCS another year with 95+ win teams and a full stadium in a recession to boot.

    Once he realizes he is not a “big market GM” – but rather the 800lb gorilla – i believe he will be able to assemble a better team and be more comfortable in his own position.

    There is one constant – no one signs in NY and takes less than their market value, so to think by tweaking the 23rd spot on the roster by shipping out a DFA’s pitcher ( did anyone not know Qualis would be available for a bag or broken bats next week??)is going to make a difference is worrying about deck-chairs on the Titanic.

    Whats the worry? – a lineup with Swisher, McGehee,Andruw Jones, Martin and Nix for the stretch run?? Brilliant – and hoping for your league-average 37 y/o 3B to return from a hand injury the week before the playoffs start as the RH power option.

    • Ted Nelson

      Those minor moves can make a real impact on the season. Moves that work will make you look good to other GMs, regardless of the size. What were you looking for him to do? There wasn’t much sense in giving up prospects for a starting player as an injury fill-in. And even if you wanted to, what 3B besides Headley do we know were somewhat available?

      Just this off-season they handed CC a HUGE extension and signed Kuroda for eight figures.

      Cashman doesn’t single handedly set the budget, and might actually have little say at all. A bunch of contracts came off the books after 2008, so they spent a bunch of money.

      Taking a little shot at ARod while calling for more huge contracts shows little understanding of cause and effect.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    If this negativity is what the Casey Fucking McGehee thread looks like, I’m glad I’m too busy with work to be around for game threads. A depth move at third base. An Option C, if you will. Get a fucking grip.

    • MattG

      Could’ve been a lot worse. Could’ve been Ty Effington!

    • Bunt Gardner

      If you listen to Pink Floyd’s Brain Damage while reading the recent threads it helps with the perspective.

  • Joe

    i like a-rod but once hes gone the yanks will have a lot more money to work with. its this luxury tax thats killing them.

  • LemDaGem

    Ichiro Suzuki will be the every day LF unless he needs a break. He has enough experience, speed, range, and a great arm to be every bit as good as Brett Gardner defensively. His batting stroke will bounce back by finally being on a ball club where his team mates will allow him to see enough pitches to do damage when he is called upon to get on base, steal 2nd when needed, score runs and hit some serious RBI’s without resorting to the long ball. He is far from over the hill and with Granderson, will form a Gold Glove caliber outfield with LF and CF.

  • FreeAgentSignee

    Welcome Casey!