For Casey McGehee, Giants Just Weren’t the Right Fit


Casey McGehee was excited to join the San Francisco Giants after a trade sent him over from the Miami Marlins on December 19th last year. The Santa Cruz native told KNBR that he “couldn’t be more excited” to join a club closer to home.

Things didn’t quite go as planned for McGehee on his native club. When he was designated for assignment for the first time by San Francisco on May 23rd, he was hitting an abysmal .200 (22-110), with two home runs and nine runs batted in. He only had one really big moment in the orange and black, a grand slam on May 9th against his former team, the Marlins.

More from Golden Gate Sports

McGehee handled things well. He pulled aside the man who would replace him, Matt Duffy, and tell him that he had nothing to feel ashamed of, that he earned the job and McGehee gave it away. The veteran had been in Duffy’s shoes before, going through a similar situation with the Milwaukee Brewers.

McGehee accepted a Triple-A assignment, a surprising move itself, and he played well in Sacramento. In 10 games, he hit .357 (15-42) with three doubles, two home runs, and seven RBI. He earned his way back to the big leagues, and in very limited time, he was a better hitter. In 14 games, only two of which were starts, he hit .294 (5-17), but hit into three double play, bringing his league-leading total to 15. He would be designated again, effectively ending his tenure with the Giants.

McGehee just didn’t fit well in San Francisco. An early-season knee injury probably didn’t help, but he just couldn’t get any positive momentum together.

Maybe if he didn’t have someone (Duffy, in this case) making an extreme case to take, and then keep the starting third base job, he could have turned his season around. But the Giants couldn’t afford to wait around and see if that would happen, not with Duffy playing like he was.

More from San Francisco Giants

So the Giants made their decision, and McGehee wasn’t part of their plans anymore. After he cleared waivers and became a free agent, Miami swooped in and reunited with their former third baseman.

By all means, McGehee looks extremely comfortable now that he’s back in Miami. He looks relaxed, almost peaceful, even. And he’s back in a place that he wants to be, not that he wasn’t happy to be coming home to the Bay Area.

McGehee said he wants to be in Miami to “see this thing across the finish line”, and be able to “completely invest in what’s going on [in Miami]”. He also expressed his happiness to continue working with Marlins’ hitting coach Frank Menechino, so they can keep “working on some of the stuff we did last year”.

In his return to Miami on Friday, as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning, McGehee laced a fastball to deep center field, clanking off the scoreboard on the wall for a double. As he stood on second base, he launched a pair of thumbs ups towards the Marlins’ dugout, as if to say “I’m back, boys”. The crowd went wild for McGehee, and the ovation continued as he was pulled for a pinch-runner.

Even in his failures, McGehee looks more comfortable in Miami. On Saturday, his first start back in the Sunshine State, McGehee grounded into a double play, his 16th of the season. There was no helmet slamming, no boos raining down from the crowd. He simply shook his head and smiled sheepishly as he talked to Marlins’ first base coach Perry Hill.

On Sunday, McGehee committed an error on a ball he backpedaled on when he should have charged. He just shook his head, a normal reaction. There was no added self deprecation. He took it as it was.

In three games back with the Marlins, McGehee is 4-10 (.400) with a pair of doubles and four RBI.

Sometimes, a player just doesn’t fit with a club. Trades don’t always work out, and in this case, it didn’t for the Giants. There’s not as much pressure on McGehee with the Fish. The Marlins aren’t defending World Series champions. McGehee isn’t coming to play for his hometown team, although Miami is basically a home for him now. He’s not replacing one of the most beloved players in franchise history in Pablo Sandoval.

The Giants aren’t hurting with McGehee gone. Duffy has proven himself a more then capable third baseman. McGehee is in a better place now, especially from a mental aspect. And you know Yogi Berra‘s old saying: “90 percent of the game is half mental”.

The Giants have won three of the last five World Series. You can’t expect them to win every trade, as well.

Next: Giants Experiencing Changing of the Guard in Bullpen