Brewers Claim Casey McGehee off Waivers

The Milwaukee Brewers claimed 3B-1B-C Casey McGehee off Outright Waivers, and RHP Billy Petrick was sent outright to the minors, as the Cubs trimmed their Reserve List (AKA "40-man roster") to 37 yesterday.

The Cubs selected McGehee out of Fresno State in the 10th round of the 2003 Rule 4 draft, and while he has played mainly 3B in his pro career, he also can play 1B and catcher. As a catcher, he has a strong, accurate arm, but his receiving skills need work.

McGehee was rewarded with an NRI to Spring Training with the big club last February, and was added to the Cubs 40-man roster and was brought up to Chicago from AAA Iowa last month (getting the nod over Jason Dubois) when Manager Lou Piniella was looking for another right-handed bat for the stretch drive. Before being summoned to Chicago, McGehee had a fine '08 season at Iowa, where he hit 296/345/429, with 30 doubles, 12 HR, and 93 RBI.

The 26-year old McGehee is presently playing winter ball for Culiacan in the Mexican Pacific League (he's spent his last three winters there). where he is hitting .326. 

McGehee has three minor league options available and is three years away from salary arbitration, so he would naturally be attractive to a small market club looking for a cheap, versatile player for the nominal cost of a $20,000 waiver claim.

It's not exactly clear why the Cubs felt the need to place McGehee (or Petrick) on Outright Waivers at this time, because the Cubs already had one opening on their 40-man roster (LHP Carmen Pignatiello was outrighted to the minors earlier ths month), and six additional slots on the 40 will open up once the eight players eligible to be free-agents under Article XX of the CBA file for FA during the Free-Agency Filing Period that commences today (two of the players eligible to be MLB Article XX free-agents are still on the 60-day DL, so they will not create openings on the 40 when they file, but the other six will).

Because McGehee was brought up to the big leagues after August 15th, the Cubs had until four days after the conclusion of the World Series to make the outright assignment, or else they would have had to wait until 25 days prior to the start of the 2009 regular season to do it. But the Cubs really didn't have to outright McGehee in order to remove him from the 40 and keep him in the organization for 2009. 

They could have waited until December 12th to drop McGehee from the 40-man roster, simply by non-tendering him and then re-signing him to a 2009 minor league contract (with an NRI to Spring Training) for the MLB split contract minor league minimum ($65,000), the same salary he would have received if he was on optional assignment to the minors. Of course McGehee could have refused the offer, but it was probably the best way to try and keep him in the organization for 2009 if they felt they needed his slot on the 40 for somebody else. 

The two players who were succesfully outrighted off the Cubs 40-man roster this month (Pignatiello and Petrick) are both eligible to be six-year minor league free-agents, so it really wouldn't have mattered much if either of them had been lost off the waiver wire.

Comments

AZ Phil,

Why do you think that the Front Office decided to take McGehee off the 40-man roster? If they wanted to create space they could have easily DFA'd Fox, Fuld, Harben, or K. Hill? It seemed during his playing time they clinched, he was looking like someone who could be a valuable RH bench bat next year at some point. Are there alot of valuable players in the farm system that we need to protect from the Rule V draft and Minor League Free Agency or do they just feel that Fox is a better as a RH corner IF/OF and emergency catcher option?

http://deadspin.com/5070887/bottle-to-the-head

also, the key to WS success is that the editor of deadspin needs to be a fan of your team. First, Leitch in 2006 and now Daulerio in 2008.

Submitted by Chifan on Thu, 10/30/2008 - 10:53am.

AZ Phil,

Why do you think that the Front Office decided to take McGehee off the 40-man roster? If they wanted to create space they could have easily DFA'd Fox, Fuld, Harben, or K. Hill? It seemed during his playing time they clinched, he was looking like someone who could be a valuable RH bench bat next year at some point.

Are there alot of valuable players in the farm system that we need to protect from the Rule V draft and Minor League Free Agency or do they just feel that Fox is a better as a RH corner IF/OF and emergency catcher option?

==================================

CHIFAN: Good question.

There was really no obvious need to remove Casey McGehee from the 40-man roster right now, because there will be six more slots available on the 40 once the Cubs Article XX free-agents file for free-agency over the next couple of weeks, and I can't see the Cubs adding more than five minor league prospects (Mitch Atkins, Donald Veal, and Nate Spears for sure, plus possibly Justin Berg, and maybe J. R. Mathes) to the 40-man roster by the 11/20 cut-off date.

And even if they do add five minor leaguers, and even if they re-sign Dempster, Wood, and Blanco, that still leaves one slot open even if McGehee had remained on the 40.

Now, if the Cubs definitely felt they wanted to outright McGehee during the off-season, instead of non-tendering him on 12/12 and then trying to re-sign him to a minor league contract, they needed to outright him prior to next Monday. That's because a player who is brought up to the big leagues after August 15th can't be outrighted between the 4th day after the conclusion of the World Series and 25 days prior to the start of the following year's regular season.

But why outright McGehee and not Brad Snyder (for example)?

The Cubs claimed Brad Snyder off Outright Waivers from Cleveland last month, but the Cubs were the last MLB club in line to make a claim on that player at that time. That's because the Cubs had the best record in the N. L. at the time, and all of the clubs in the A. L. and all of the clubs below the Cubs in the N. L. standings (and that's everybody) would have been awarded the claim if they had made one. So if there was no interest in Snyder then, why would there suddenly be any interest now?

And I would think McGehee would have more value than Jake Fox among the right-handed hitters at the top levels of the Cubs farm system, too. Fox has only one minor league option remaining and has yet to show he can hit at AAA, while McGehee is an accomplished AAA player with three minor league options left.

But the bottom line is, the Cubs didn't need McGehee's roster slot right away, and even if the slot would have been needed eventually, Snyder or Fox would seem to be better choices to cut.

BTW, Adam Harben was outrighted last month after the Cubs claimed Brad Snyder off waivers, and Harben is eligible to be a six-year minor league FA.

MLB should be releasing the list of minor league free-agents sometime in the next couple of days (or next Monday at the latest), and then we'll find out how many Cubs minor league free-agents signed 2009 minor league contracts with the Cubs after the conclusion of the MLB regular season.

Article XX-B minor league free-agents (those are the players who were outrighted during the 2008 season who had at least three years of MLB service time or who had been previously outrighted in their career, where the player deferred his right to be a FA until after the season) are allowed to file for free-agency anytime between the end of the MLB regular season and October 15th, and then they can sign with a new club immediately (see Jayson Nix), but all other minor league FAs have to wait until the end of the MLB Free-Agency Filing Period to sign with a new organization.

Until the conclusion of the World Series, MLB clubs have an exclusive club option to add their own minor league free-agents to their 40-man roster. After that, the minor league FA can still opt to re-sign with his old club, but then it becomes a mutual agreement rather than an absolute club option. Usually if a minor league FA doesn't re-up with his old organization prior to the end of the World Series, it means he has decided to try his luck elsewhere.

Phil, you're the second person today to suggest that the Cubs should have released Jake Fox and kept McGehee.

I just don't see it. McGehee has crappy numbers. Fox's aren't bad.

Apart from Fox's hitting 31 home runs at two levels in 2008, and leading the Southern League in SLG--compare them at the same age, 24, in 2007 at the same place, Tennessee (AA).

McGehee: 384 AB, 9 HR, .273/.338/.422.
Fox: 359 AB, 18 HR, .284/.327/.504.

Neither one is a major league catcher. McGehee can play third better. Both can play first and a little outfield. Without power, neither one has a chance. Fox has shown some power: 105 HRs in 6 seasons (31 this year) to McGehee's 54.

that was Jake Fox's third attempt at AA and they're the same age.

neither one will do anything in the majors....

You did better than me. I couldn't even summon up the gumption to argue the relative 'values' of McGehee versus Fox. Talk about signing Bo Jackson to be our RH PH would be more productive.

Fox ain't dead yet.

If it isn't too much trouble, look at his numbers in AA last year.

McGehee played in AAA because they needed a third baseman. Fox played outfield, and had to compete with Kroeger, Pie, Murton, Patterson, etc., etc. So Fox and Fuld went to AA.

Like I said, who needs Cards' and Astros' fans when Cub fans think that their prospects are always too old and never good enough?

What free agents did the Phillies have in their everyday lineup?

Fox didn't just play in AA because the Iowa Cubs had plenty of outfield/first base/DH types, he also was in AA because he tanked pretty badly at AAA. The Cubs did sign Jason Dubois later in the year, who is the sort of player Fox probably hopes to be someday, so it stands to reason that if they had room for Dubois then they had room for Fox, had he performed at the AAA level. I can't seem to find Fox's splits for the 2008 season, but I wonder also whether his numbers in AA, which were improved in both power and walks from what most people probably expected of him, were very different late in the season from what they were early on--did he get his walks and hit his homeruns against guys who started the year in AA, or guys who were promoted from A-ball?

Fox still has enough power to be a little bit intriguing, but it's definitely time for him to succeed for an extended time at AAA, including taking the occasional walk and striking out less.

http://www.minorleaguesplits.com/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?pl...

Fox's splits, you'll have to switch between iowa and tennessee at the top

Thanks Rob. Looks like Fox was fairly consistent in his time in AA, though his first month wasn't so great. OPS by month in AA:

May: .731 (77 AB)
June: .918 (100 AB)
July: 1.059 (102 AB)
August: 1.160 (105 AB) (BABIP shoots 60 points to .378 without an increase in line drive percentage)

It does go up as the season progresses, which could indicated that the opponent talent was dropping off or just that Fox was getting his shit together.

In Iowa his stats work out this way:
April: .539 (94 AB) (30 K and a line drive % of just 9.4 -- clearly a bad month at the plate)
May: 1.457 (23 AB)

None of this proves my previous speculation, but it doesn't do much to disprove it either. This doesn't matter enough for me to spend much more time on it.

At Tennessee, Fox played corner outfield 40 percent of the time. I really don't know if he qualifies as a decent outfielder. I know he's heavy and probably slow, but he strikes me as more aggressive and athletic than someone like Dubois. Mark DeRosa, don't forget, doesn't set a very high bar in right field.

Right now the Cubs have no righty hitting off the bench, and Fox does give them an emergency catcher, useful in late innings.

He was the only right-handed hitter with pop at AA or higher apart from Dubois and Matt Craig, and McGehee, if you will.

September-October is the busiest time of the year for waiver claims, even moreso than the end of Spring Training.

Just in the last two months, 13 players have been claimed off Outright Waivers, Casey McGehee getting claimed by the Brewers being the most recent one.

Here is the complete list:

CLAIMED BY BOSTON:
RHP Dewon Day from CHW
RHP Virgil Vasquez from DET

CLAIMED BY CUBS:
OF Brad Snyder from CLE

CLAIMED BY KC:
RHP Jairo Cuevas from ATL

CLAIMED BY MIL:
RHP Todd Coffey from CIN
3B Casey McGehee from CUBS

CLAIMED BY STL:
LHP Charlie Manning from WAS

CLAIMED BY SD:
RHP Charlie Haeger from CHW
RHP Scott Patterson from NYY
2B Travis Denker from SF

CLAIMED BY TOR:
LHP Reid Santos from CLE
RHP Dirk Hayhurst from SD
RHP Bryan Bullington from CLE

todd coffey is a nice claim, imo.

and someone claimed dirk "i'm not supposed to be here" hayhurst! his legend continues.

Charlie haeger will probably end up in San Diego's rotation next year.

Is it possible that the cubs made the move with the hopes of snagging another prospect that they like more?

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  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 55 min 33 sec ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 56 min 34 sec ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 10 hours 37 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 13 hours 35 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 13 hours 47 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 13 hours 56 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 14 hours 2 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 14 hours 20 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 14 hours 56 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 15 hours 14 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 15 hours 16 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 15 hours 34 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 15 hours 41 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 16 hours 36 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 16 hours 54 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 16 hours 59 min ago view