The Miami Marlins and San Francisco Giants completed a trade late Friday night. The Marlins sent third baseman Casey McGehee to the Giants for two minor league pitchers, Kendry Flores and Luis Castillo.
Some people may be thinking why Casey McGehee? The answer to that question is that he was by far the Giants best and only option. McGehee will not even remotely be able to replace Pablo Sandoval, not at third base nor in the hearts of the Giants fans.
However, when you consider the Giants other options, it turns out that getting McGehee for two minor league pitchers was a steal. The San Francisco ball club was lucky to get him.
Chase Headley was the next best free agent third baseman after Sandoval who left the Giants for the Boston Red Sox. The Giants didn’t make a move and the New York Yankees just scooped him up.
Jed Lowrie is a shortstop who would be willing to play third, however, he was just signed by the Houston Astros. Even Alberto Callaspo, formerly a utility player for the Oakland A’s, was picked up by the Atlanta Braves.
The only option would be to beg free agent shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who numbers are mediocre at best, to move positions. He has publicly said that he doesn’t want to go that route except maybe moving to second base but not third.
So who was left? The Giants’ do not have one acceptable internal option, so those were pretty much off the table.
According to CBS Sports’ Mike Axisa their best internal options were between Marco Scutaro, 39, whose injured back kept him out of all but five games last season or Joaquin Arias, who was listed as the Giants’ third baseman on their website until last night.
Arias does not bring a good depth chart as the starting third baseman. The Giants would only have Ehire Adrianza, Matt Duffy or Adam Duval left, not one of which would have been able to satisfactorily fill the hole Sandoval left at third base.
The Giants were forced to look at trade options in order to acquire a third baseman. The looming questions was then, which teams would be wiling to part with theirs for a minimal return?
“The Giants also don’t have a highly rated farm system or excess value on the major league roster, so acquiring a guy like Beltre is really just a pipe dream.”
Adrian Beltre, a future Hall of Famer who plays for the Texas Rangers, is the type of high level player the Giants won’t be able to trade for. So again, who was there left to fill the Giant’s void at third?
Will Middlebrooks of the Red Sox could have been an option for the Giants. With Sandoval having taken over the third base duties in Boston, Middlebrooks was expendable. He was traded to the Padres early Friday, rendering him off limits.
Still, he wouldn’t have been a great option having played in just 63 games last season batting just .191 with two homers. He’s had better seasons in which he hit 15 plus home runs but has never played in more than 93 games in a season.
With prospect Miguel Sano expected to be ready by midseason, the Minnesota Twins might have been willing to part with their third baseman Trevor Plouffe for some minor league pitching. Plouffe could have worked as an option but has just a .245 lifetime batting averge.
The Chicago Cubs’ Luis Valbuena may have been an option, with Kris Bryant about as close to Major League ready as you can get without actually being listed as the Cubs’ starting third baseman. Valbuena will be giving way to Bryant shortly.
He still would not be the bat that the Giants were looking for. Valbuena is coming off a “career year” in which he batted .249 with 16 home runs and 51 RBI.
A couple other trade options for San Francisco could have been Zach Walters of the Cleveland Indians or possibly Jake Lamb from the Arizona Diamondbacks. McGehee is still the better option above those two and the aforementioned possible players at third.
McGehee, who put up pretty good numbers in 2014, can still be considered somewhat of a risk or question mark at the hot corner.
He batted .287/.355/.357 with four home runs and 76 RBI in 2014. While that does not replace the power Sandoval provided. McGehee’s numbers were not bad though and he’s a good defender. McGehee was even named the National League Comeback Player of the Year in 2014.
That’s where some people get their skepticism regarding McGehee. After placing in the top five in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2009, McGehee’s numbers steadily declined. They declined so much so that he was playing in Japan by 2013.
The Marlins took a risk and signed the third baseman prior to last season. It worked out well for them. However, whether or not he can maintain his “comeback” numbers is unknown.
Even though the trade is a bit of a risk by the Giants, McGehee was their only decent option, and by far the best one out there, so long as McGehee can duplicate his numbers from 2014.
He won’t replace what the Giants lost in Sandoval but what other choice did the Giants have?