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Milwaukee Brewers: Could the Return of Casey McGehee Be in the Works?

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COMMENTARY | There wasn't a single team in Major League Baseball that had more issues at first base than the Milwaukee Brewers this season.

Seven different players received their first career start at first base, including two catchers, three players that weren't on the Brewers' roster to begin the season and one player that was released midseason.

Not a single player played more than 67 games at first for Milwaukee. Combined, Brewers first basemen hit an MLB-worst .206 with 21 HRs and 86 RBIs.

You can go back to January to see where the problems began, or you can backtrack even further to the days when Prince Fielder donned a Brewers jersey. During the past offseason, both Corey Hart and Mat Gamel suffered what would amount to be season-ending knee injuries, forcing Milwaukee to scramble for a replacement.

In case you couldn't tell, the Brewers need to find a solution at first base, by far the biggest position in question on the roster.

So in what direction does Milwaukee go? Adam Weiser from Disciples of Uecker brought up an interesting proposition -- what about Casey McGehee?

Before you dismiss what may sound like a preposterous idea, let's not forget who the Brewers' MVP was just three seasons ago. That would be McGehee, who hit .285 with 23 HRs and 104 RBIs during the 2010 season as Milwaukee's everyday third baseman. The season before that, McGehee played in 116 games and hit .301 with 16 HRs and 66 RBIs.

But then McGehee fizzled out fast, getting traded by the Brewers after a disappointing 2011 season in which he was replaced at third base by Jerry Hairston Jr. After playing sparingly for both the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees in 2012, McGehee exited Major League Baseball all together.

Just like former Brewer Nyjer Morgan, McGehee took his talents to Japan in 2013. Playing with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, there were shades of the old McGehee. He hit .306 with 24 HRs and 81 RBIs in 120 games, jumping back onto the radar of teams playing back in the States.

Granted, this was Japan, not Major League Baseball, but when you look at McGehee's stats on a per-162 game basis, he was on pace for 32 HRs and 109 RBIs, which are pretty impressive numbers no matter where you're playing.

But McGehee is a third baseman. Aren't the Brewers looking for help at first base?

Well, with the Golden Eagles, McGehee played 17 games over at first base. Prior to 2013, that's more experience than any Brewer had at the position combined. First base was also McGehee's primary position when playing with the Pirates in 2012.

Plus, Milwaukee suffered at the hot corner with Aramis Ramirez dealing with a bad knee throughout the season, forced to start players like Yuniesky Betancourt and Jeff Bianchi in his place. McGehee's ability to play both corner infield positions might make him a useful player to have around, even if it's not in an everyday role.

McGehee just turned 31, so it's entirely possible there are still some good years left in the tank, especially if his showing in Japan this season was any indication. Whether or not he still has what it takes to play every day in the MLB is a completely different debate, but he's familiar with the city of Milwaukee and it is where he had the most success in the big leagues.

The Brewers will likely explore other options, specifically Corey Hart, although they want to get a better idea of the health of his knees, and money could become an issue with Hart. He has a lucrative qualifying offer, but Hart said he was willing to take a hometown discount and is a proven commodity at first base when healthy.

That's not to say Milwaukee couldn't sign both players, as McGehee would come cheap. That would put less pressure on him to succeed, and to have him on the roster with injury-prone players like Hart and Ramirez around would be a nice insurance policy.

If you haven't warmed up to the idea of having McGehee back in blue and gold yet, here are two words for you: Yuniesky Betancourt.

There's nowhere to go but up.

Dave Radcliffe is a resident of a little known Milwaukee suburb who is an avid follower of Wisconsin sports. He has contributed to JSOnline, as a featured columnist on other sites and publications, and been a guest on multiple sports talk radio shows.

You can get the discussion going and follow Dave on Twitter @DaveRadcliffe_.

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