Would a McGehee/Jones Platoon Work?

The Pirates acquired Casey McGehee from the Milwaukee Brewers via a trade

On December 12th, 2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates sent reliever Jose Veras to the division rival Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for infielder Casey McGehee.

McGehee is coming off of a season where he struggled mightily.  He hit a triple-slash of .223/.280/.346, straying from his then-career average of .288/.342/.470 by an average of 29.57%.  Only two seasons removed from a season where he was 5th in the NL Jackie Robinson Award voting, the future does not look bright for McGehee.

Garrett Jones broke onto the spot in 2009 after Eric Hinske was traded to the Yankees on June 30th.  In July, Jones destroyed the competition, with a .310/.361/.700 triple-slash in his first 25 games as a Bucco, including ten home runs.  His production tailed off after July, going from an OPS of 1.061 to .868 and .892 in August and September/October.  He would never have a month like July 2009 ever again, his batting average going down 50 points from 2009, OBP going down 50 points, and SLG going down 130 points from 2009.

Jones’ platoon splits are completely different.  Being a left handed batter, he’s naturally better against right handed pitchers; after all, he can see the ball better coming off of a righty, but his splits being this far apart is amazing.  Against right handed pitchers, Jones has a career triple-slash of .275/.354/.483 with 46 home runs, or 19 home runs per 162 games.  However, against southpaws his career triple-slash is .199/.237/.364 with 14 home runs, or 10 per 162 games.  He can’t even get above the Mendoza line, let alone hit his weight of 240 pounds, against lefties, yet he gets on base 35.4% of the time against righties.

Now that we have examined Jones’ splits, it’s time to look at McGehee’s.  Typically right handed batters do better against left handed pitchers.  However, McGehee does everything wrong: he performs almost the exact same against lefties as he does righties.  When facing left handed pitchers, McGehee has hit .261/.323/.420 (insert cannabis joke here) over his career with 10 home runs in 189 games.  Against righties, McGehee has a triple-slash of .266/.319/.428 with 42 career home runs in 405 games, or 17 home runs per 162 games.  Because McGehee performs about the same, it doesn’t matter what handed pitcher he faces, but he hits for more power against righties.

So, yes; a platoon of Casey McGehee and Garrett Jones would hypothetically work.

When it comes to fielding, Garrett Jones is on the wrong side of the bell curve with a fielding percentage of .992, which would be about 20th in the MLB if he started every game.

Listen, I would love to see Carlos Pena or Derrek Lee at first base over these guys, but the Pirates are not going to make it happen, even if our payroll right now is $40-45 million and they have money to burn.  The best thing for Garrett Jones at this point in time at the age of 30 would just be to start every game at first base and find another position for McGehee.

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