The Marlins finalized what looks to be an overhaul of their roster heading into 2014 by signing free agent Casey McGehee from Japan’s Rakuten Golden Eagles. The 31 year old had previous stints with the Brewers, Pirates, and Yankees over the course of his career and along the way has shown power in his bat. His most productive season in MLB was 2010 with the Brewers where he hit 23 home runs and had a .285/.337/.801 slash line.
He hit 27 home runs in Japan last season and relates that his experience was a maturing one for him as a hitter. “I committed to being really stubborn in my approach at the plate,” McGehee said of his experience in Japan. “I started to realize the home runs and the power numbers showed up a lot better when I wasn’t going up there with that as the sole purpose of my at-bats.”
McGehee signed for $1.1M with incentives which, according to USA Today, break down as follows, “he can earn $400,000 in performance bonuses: $50,000 each for 300, 350, 400, 450, 500, 525, 550 and 575 plate appearances.”
This is obviously a low-risk, high-reward deal that the Marlins are making. They gain an experienced hitter to be a stop-gap measure until Colin Moran proves he is ready. The Marlins were interested in finding someone to solve their 3B situation that could offer some power in the lineup, but also could offer team control over their contract for a few years. The match would prove hard to find considering the high cost of losing pitching prospects for what looked to be a short term solution.
McGehee offers a solid power bat with some upside. He will definitely be looking to establish himself in the majors which means the Marlins get the right kind of attitude in the clubhouse, too. The Fish have now implemented a serious makeover for their anemic offense from 2013 to surround Giancarlo Stanton with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Garrett Jones, and now Casey McGehee. Rafael Furcal will get a chance to lead off which should allow Christian Yelich and Marcel Ozuna a chance to find safe harbor in the lineup as they look to put in their first full seasons in the bigs. Adeiny Hechavarria also will find a safe spot near the bottom of the lineup and get a chance to refine his approach at the plate while learning to utilize his speed on the basepaths.
One of the objectives of the Marlins front office was to keep as much of their young starting pitching arsenal intact as they could and they were able to keep it all in stock heading forward. They have now improved the big-league club and continued to build a strong foundation with young, talented pitching moving forward.