When the trade deadline came and went yesterday the Yankees remained relatively quiet. However, the Yankees did fill one need with the under-the-radar acquisition of third basemen Casey McGehee from the Pittsburgh Pirates for reliever Chad Qualls.
McGehee, 29, fills the roll of a back-up infielder that can play both first and third base. McGehee comes in at the perfect time with Alex Rodriguez on the DL with a broken hand and Mark Teixeira hurting his wrist two games ago. McGehee brings crucial infield depth that the Yanks had lacked.
McGehee, aside from playing both corner infield positions, also improves the Yankees with some power coming off the bench. Since 2009 when he first broke in as a starter with the Milwaukee Brewers, McGehee has hit 60 homers and has driven in 272 runs. Having a career year in 2010, McGehee hit 23 homeruns and drove in 104. This season in 92 games with the Pirates he is hitting .230 with 8 homers and 35 R.B.I.s. One statistic to keep an eye on with McGehee is his BABIP (Batting Average with Balls In Play), it is currently at .266. The Yankees would love to see that jump over .300 by the end of the season.
The other reason this trade made so much sense for the Yankees is because they gave up a player they were going to move off their roster no matter what. Chad Qualls, 33, was acquired a month ago from the Philadelphia Phillies and became expendable when it was evident that Joba Chamberlain was ready to rejoin the team. Qualls is also having one of his worst statistical seasons of his career thus far. In 38.2 innings, he has a 2-1 record with an E.R.A. of 4.89. Qualls, who is known for being a power pitcher, isn’t striking anyone out. His strike out per 9 ratio of 4.89 is the lowest of his entire major league career. So instead of demoting Qualls or simply just releasing him, Brian Cashman and the Yankee brass flipped an expendable player for a player that fills a big void.
Casey McGehee made his Yankee debut today playing first and hitting 7th against the Baltimore Orioles.