With Jose Abreu secure, speculation has already begun about the next White Sox move of the offseason, with rumblings of the Blue Jays being interested in Gordon Beckham. James has already given a good look at why Beckham makes sense to move – his price tag is rising, he isn’t really showing signs of improving, and internal options present more potential upside. Beckham also makes more sense for other teams where he wouldn’t have to be much more than he is – just a nice little filler piece on an otherwise complete roster.
Other than Toronto, what organizations does that describe? The more potential buyers there are for an item, the more value it commands. Without getting carried away, there are some big positional weaknesses in infields around the league, and the idea that Beckham can be adequate on both sides of the ball is actually an upgrade for some teams.
One of those organizations is just coming off of a World Series defeat. The Saint Louis Cardinals actually gave 448 PAs to Pete Kozma – who isn’t exactly a great glove out there either – to hit .217/.275/.273. It speaks to just how good that organization is that they are able to win 97 games with that sort of historic performance. They led the NL in runs scored by a huge margin with essentially two pitchers hitting in their lineup. Kozma’s backup, Daniel Descalso, was less humiliating, but not very effective either. Given the Cardinals’ general acuity, they usually prefer to find internal solutions or solutions with minimum investment.
Beckham would require just such a minimum investment, not commanding much in a trade or salary. However, although there aren’t many other options internally–Keith Law recently said that he doesn’t see anyone in the Cardinals organization who can play short at the major league level in the next few years–I think you could make a case that Descalso is roughly the same as Beckham at this point. Beckham has not had an extended look at shortstop in the majors, although it is his original position, and he began seeing some playing time there for the first time for two games in 2013.
The Rockies are as set as anybody can be at shortstop, but second base has been a revolving door for some time now. This year Colorado featured DJ LeMahieu, Josh Rutledge, Jonathan Harrera, the Geth-like husk of Reid Brignac, and sprinkled in some Charlie Culberson for good measure. As a team that has a lot of money invested in a core that is sitting in its prime, the Rockies may be interested in patching holes. The trade deadline was a bit of a litmus test, as they neither bought nor sold. It’s conceivable they fancy themselves as buyers at the major league level at this point. Beckham could be useful in multiple ways, since as brilliant as Tulo is, he certainly has a habit of missing playing time.
Jonathan Bernhardt recently pointed out that teams like the Dodgers are looking for help at 3B, and that the 3B market currently consists of Jhonny Peralta and Mike Schmidt shaking his head in disgust. It’s been a few years since Beckham manned the hot corner, but it’s not ridiculous to think that he would solidify a question mark position for a team trying to compete now. Peralta is clearly a superior option, however, and it’s hard to imagine the Dodgers balking at money as an obstacle these days.
The Indians and Angels are both presumably trying to compete next season, have glaring holes at 3B and no immediate solution on hand. The White Sox may not want to trade the former future face of the franchise to a division rival (although I think in-division trades are just grand), but the Angels may be a logical trade partner for Hahn.
Beckham doesn’t have to move, and he probably won’t fetch much in return. But as it stands now, he is looking increasingly superfluous with options like Marcus Semien (and sunk costs like Jeff Keppinger) pushing their way into the picture. Given his flexibility, steadfast semi-competence, and some desperation around the majors, there could be value to be had.
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