Miami Marlins Sign Casey McGehee
Casey McGehee finally found a taker in his quest to return to MLB after a solid season in Japan’s NPB. He reportedly signed today with the Marlins for one year at $1.1 million plus performance incentives.
Playing for the Rakuten Golden Eagles in 2013, McGehee hit .292/.376/.515 and was a major contributor to the Golden Eagles’ Japan Series crown. He made $1.5 million, which likely would have become at least a two-year deal at $2 to 2.5 million per in 2014-2015 had he returned to Japan, so returning to the States wasn’t the best decision financially.
While McGehee’s NPB numbers were good, I’m not convinced they were good enough to translate into MLB success next season. In 2011 and 2012 at age 28 and 29, McGehee batted .221/.282/.351 in 952 major league plate appearances. That’s not a small sample size and doesn’t cut it even for a 3Bman who provided above-average defense those two seasons.
The only thing that playing a year in Japan likely gained McGehee, aside from the money, is renewed confidence in his abilities as a baseball player. While I’m convinced that self-confidence is important to professional success as an athlete (I haven’t done the research, but I strongly suspect that hitters playing at home in great hitters’ parks hit better on the road than players who play at home in terrible hitters’ parks because of the confidence boost they get from their batting success at home), I’m not sure how long that confidence will last once McGehee faces major league pitching again on a daily basis. In other words, he’ll need to get off to a good start in 2014.
At any rate, the Marlins are always looking to get lucky on low-cost signings, so it’s not particularly surprising they were the team to risk $1.1 million on McGehee’s return.