Are the Baltimore Orioles about to reunite with a former infielder who is currently serving a suspension?
According to MASN’s Roch Kubatko, the Baltimore Orioles have a legitimate interest in bringing back Tim Beckham to Camden Yards in their attempt to add more infield depth to the major league and Triple-A roster.
Multiple sources have confirmed with Kubatko that the Orioles are looking into bringing back Beckham on a minor league deal for 2020.
The first thought that comes to my mind is very simple…why?
The Orioles jettisoned utility man Pat Valaika from the 40-man roster after their recent signing of former Toronto Blue Jays infielder Richard Urena, leaving Valaika available on the waiver wire where the Arizona Diamondbacks swept in to claim the veteran depth piece.
General manager Mike Elias is reportedly still in the market for more infield help, currently having just Jose Iglesias, Hanser Alberto, Urena, Richie Martin, and Stevie Wilkerson on the 40-man roster. Iglesias and Alberto will likely team up as the double-play combo up the middle, while Wilkerson (if he makes the roster) will serve as the team’s super-utility, seeing time in the outfield and infield this season (probably more so as outfield help until DJ Stewart is healthy and Ryan Mountcastle comes up).
The notion that Martin spends 2020 in the minor leagues continues to be thrown around with serious consideration, leaving the Orioles thin up the middle (Alberto will likely also see time at third base) and a 26th-man spot to fill next year.
The Orioles added Dilson Herrera on a minor league deal earlier this offseason, a quiet move that has serious potential for some upside. Herrera is just 25, but has been in professional baseball since 2011. He hit 24 home runs in Triple-A last season with the Mets and brings 102 games of major league experience to the table (11 HR, 91 wRC+ in 266 plate appearances).
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Herrera’s potential impact at the major league level could be similar to Dwight Smith Jr’s last season, a few big hits and notable games, not always pretty, but he cost essentially nothing so any sort of production is a nice bonus.
Bringing in Tim Beckham on a minor league deal also cost nothing and is a simple move to act as an emergency bridge while guys like Rylan Bannon and Mason McCoy continue to develop and get their opportunity in the big leagues, but Beckham will begin 2020 on the suspended list, continuing to serve his 80-game suspension for using a banned substance last season with the Seattle Mariners.
Beckham first came to Baltimore back in 2017 in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays that sent prospect pitcher Tobias Myers to the Sunshine State. Beckham was effective in his 50 games with the Orioles that season, posting a wRC+ of 129 and a 1.9 fWAR. But the wheels quickly fell off.
He appeared in just 96 games in 2018, hitting .230 with a .287 OBP, 78 wRC+ and was worth -0.5 fWAR. It was, arguably, his worst defensive season in the majors, combining for -3 Defensive Runs Saved in more than 750 innings between third base and shortstop.
Beckham’s stock continued to plummet in Seattle last season, hitting just .237 with an OBP that once again failed to reach .300 (.293) and a strikeout rate of 31%. He was worth a combined -14 Defensive Runs saved between 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, and LF.
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As a reserve bench piece on a minor league deal, Beckham does provide some value, but do we need to recycle a player who has already been non-tendered by the organization and is currently serving a suspension? I’ll pass on “Swaggy T.” We all know the Orioles are going to be hard to watch in 2020, at least give us new blood to watch.