The New York Yankees made a minor but important move at the very end of the MLB non-waiver trade deadline this afternoon, landing 1B/3B Casey McGehee and $250K from the Pittsburgh Pirates for reliever Chad Qualls.
After hearing the Yankees were in on Ryan Dempster for a better part of the afternoon, the Yankees never got close and pursued what they really needed, some depth at the corner positions.
Qualls, who was obtained off waivers from the Philadelphia Phillies, was most likely going to lose his roster spot to Joba Chamberlain upon his return from rehab, which has been moved up to tonight per a tweet from New York Daily News reporter Mark Feinsand. McGehee became expendable for the Pirates once they pulled off a trade earlier today with the Miami Marlins for 1B Gaby Sanchez. The cash in the deal offsets the difference of what was owed to Qualls.
The deal was first reported by Joel Sherman through twitter. It was so close to the deadline that Qualls was in uniform and headed to the field as the Twitterverse was lit up with the last second deal.
Give Brian Cashman credit for utilizing a player he was going to dump to fit a need the Yankees have with Alex Rodriguez out for the next 7-8 weeks and Mark Teixeira dealing with a wrist injury that could linger.
McGehee was hitting .230/.297/.377 for the Pirates in 293 plate appearances this season. He had 13 doubles, 8 homers and drove in 35 runs for the Bucs. He gives the Yankees a right-handed bat to compliment Eric Chavez until Rodriguez returns and then provides some pop off the bench or for a day of rest when A-Rod is back. McGehee is two years removed from hitting 24 homers and driving in 104 runs for the Milwaukee Brewers. In 2012, his SLG% goes from .341 against right-handed pitchers to .463 when facing lefties, who he will primarily see with the Yankees.
In 7 1/3 innings with the Yankees, Qualls was 1-0 with a 6.14 ERA and a 1.77 WHIP.
If Chamberlain enters tonight’s game, it will be his first major league appearance since June 5, 2011. He underwent Tommy John surgery in mid-June 2011 and would have been with the club earlier this season if not for a right ankle injury (open dislocation) sustained while playing on a trampoline with his son during spring training. Chamberlain has been hitting between 94-98 mph during his rehab assignment. He last pitched on Sunday for Double-A Trenton.
Chamberlain takes Qualls’ roster spot and Ramiro Pena, who is in tonight’s lineup playing shortstop, will likely be sent back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre tomorrow when McGehee arrives.