Earlier Monday, the Milwaukee Brewers put the finishing touches on a three-year contract for free agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez provided a big upgrade at the position, but his acquisition led people to wonder what would happen to Casey McGehee. Would he slide across the diamond to get some time at first base?
McGehee lost his place, and rather than pay him arbitration money, the Brewers shipped him off. It's quite the fall for McGehee, after he drove in 104 runs in 2010. The following is his OPS progression, year-by-year:
McGehee's 29, and he's done the opposite of improve, and the Pirates are banking on the hope that his poor 2011 season was mostly due to bad luck. In Pittsburgh, he could challenge Pedro Alvarez, or one of them could get time at first. McGehee has hit for power in the past and he's a passable defender at third, so there's reason for optimism.
As for Veras, he's a 31-year-old righty. The last two years, with Pittsburgh and Florida, he's posted a 3.78 ERA with better than ten strikeouts per nine innings. He has his issues with walks, so he's far from perfect, but his mid-90s fastball, curve and split make him difficult to hit. He'll bolster the Brewer bullpen.
This trade officially clears the path for Mat Gamel to take over at first base for Milwaukee. McGehee didn't look like much competition, but he was some competition. Now he is not.