Casey McGehee: Get to Know the Newest San Francisco Giant

After playing for six teams in his baseball career, Casey McGehee has decided to come home to play for the San Francisco Giants. McGehee had previously played for the Chicago Cubs in 2008, the Milwaukee Brewers between 2009-2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees in 2012, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in the Nippon Professional Baseball league in 2013, and the Miami Marlins in 2014, but the Santa Cruz native wanted to return to the Bay Area for the 2015 season.

The Giants had a hole to fill at third base after Pablo Sandoval decided to sign with the Boston Red Sox, and despite the Giants being linked to Chase Headley in offseason rumors, they chose to trade for the journeyman McGehee. They sent two right-handed pitchers, Kendry Flores and Luis Castillo, from their minor league system to the Marlins for McGehee.

Giants GM Brian Sabean was not only relieved to find a serviceable, reliable everyday third baseman, but he was also happy to sign one at a reasonable price, as he is in his final year of arbitration and is expected to make about $3.5 million in 2015.

Not only does McGehee have a desirable contract, but he also gives the Giants some flexibility in the lineup and a solid defensive third baseman. Bruce Bochy expanded on this topic after the Giants’ trade for McGehee was announced:

“Great news,” said manager Bruce Bochy, who indicated that McGehee will be slated into the heart of the Giants order — likely a four-, five- or six-hitter. “I couldn’t have been more thrilled.”

“I would have no problem putting him in the four-hole,” Bochy said. “He did a great job protecting (Giancarlo) Stanton down there (in Miami). … He gives us some flexibility there.

“(He’s) a guy that can keep the line moving, doesn’t strike out a lot. I think he’s going to be a great fit in the clubhouse with the way he plays the game — playing it the right way and playing it hard.”

McGehee shares Bochy’s excitement about joining the Giants, as he expressed in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea.

”One team that really jumped off page for me was San Francisco,’ he said. “I didn’t think too far ahead, but I really hoping San Francisco would be it. When I got the call San Francisco was where I was going, there was a little shock, but I was really excited.

“I found myself walking around with a smile on my face. I couldn’t be more happy to not only be in an organization that has had success that lasted awhile but it’s a chance for me to get back home. One of the things I’m most excited about is finally sharing some of my career and journey close to home with family and friends.”

As mentioned before, McGehee is from Santa Cruz, attended Soquel High School in Soquel, California, and went to college at Fresno State University. He grew up a Bay Area sports fan, and his baseball idols were Will Clark and Matt Williams. McGehee is grateful for the opportunity to come home and also play for a championship contender.

McGehee knows that he has big shoes to fill with the departure of former Giants fan favorite Sandoval, but he understands his job isn’t to come in and be Sandoval. His job is to find his role on this team and play hard every game, as he told Shea in the same interview:

“Obviously, Pablo was a tremendous guy. It’s no secret how people in San Francisco feel about him. Great player. I think if there’s any pressure that comes, it’s myself expecting to do my job every night. Pablo and I are different players. I’m not going to do the same things Pablo does. There are some things he does better than I do. There are some things I may do better than he does. I’d be foolish to think I’ll step into Pablo’s shoes and completely replace him. He’s one of the guys, with what he’s done, who won’t be forgotten or completely replaced in San Francisco with the amount of success he’s had, especially in the postseason. My job is to go in and find my niche within the team and pave my own way, not try to pick up where Pablo left off.”

McGehee was named the 2014 NL Comeback Player of the Year, after hitting .287 with four home runs and 76 RBI last season for the Marlins. His best seasons, statistically, were in 2009, when he hit .301 with 16 home runs and 66 RBI, and 2010, when he hit .285 with 23 home runs and 104 RBI.

In 2010, he was also named the Brewers’ Most Valuable Player, edging out both Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart.

Given McGehee’s success in the National League in 2009-10 and last year with the Marlins, he should fit in nicely with this Giants team. In his career, he has hit .306 with three home runs and 14 RBI in 34 games against the Giants.

He also has had success at AT&T Park. In 2014, McGehee hit .333 in 18 at-bats in San Francisco. In his career, he’s a .260 hitter in 15 games at AT&T Park.

Given his offensive versatility and Gold Glove caliber defense, McGehee is a perfect fit for the Giants and at the right price.

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