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Maybe the Tampa Bay Rays Should Have Kept Tim Beckham

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ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JULY 25: Tim Beckham (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JULY 25: Tim Beckham (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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In a strange trade on deadline day, the Tampa Bay Rays sent Tim Beckham to division rival Baltimore. Not all of this seems to make a lot of sense, so why would they trade a capable ball player to a division rival, a team that is hot on your tail for a playoff berth?

In the final minutes of trade deadline day, the Tampa Bay Rays sent Tim Beckham to division rival Baltimore for an obscure minor league pitcher. The deal seemed a little strange but Beckham was never a fan favorite of Kevin Cash or the Rays’ front office.

The Rays had plenty of reason not to be in love with Beckham. He had embarrassed them by never living up to being picked before Buster Posey. It took him six years in the minors before he got at least 200 at bats in the majors. He served a 50 game suspension for drug use. Once in the majors, he seemed to lack the defensive skills to find a position on the field. Last season he was banished to the minors for a series of base running blunders.

This season, Tim Beckham seemed to find himself and was installed as the Ray’s’ everyday shortstop when Matt Duffy couldn’t recover from a heel injury. He hit for power and was adequate in the field. However, the Rays made a surprise move in late June and traded for Miami’s slick fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria.

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With Brad Miller on the disabled list, Beckham was immediately moved to second base. He played the position well but his hitting was starting to fall off and, several days after Miller’s return, Beckham was traded to the Orioles for a little known minor league pitcher named Tobias Myers.

All of this doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. I can understand that the Rays want to upgrade their defense with Hechavarria.

I can understand that management isn’t in love with Tim Beckham but why does a team that struggles with left handed pitching want to get rid of a right handed middle infielder with power. Yes he struck out in one third of his at bats but he was also on a path to hit 18 home runs and drive in 65 runs. Lastly, his replacement at second base is having a subpar season at the plate and is a worse defensive player.

And if that isn’t enough, the trade itself doesn’t make any sense. Why would you trade a capable ball player to a division rival, a team that is hot on your tail for a play off berth? Why would you trade that player for a pitcher in short season minor league ball who barely gets a mention in the 2017 Baseball America Prospect Guide? If you were going to trade a player of Beckham’s caliber, you would think the Rays would get someone to immediately help the team.

Even more puzzling is the Rays’ acquisition of left handed hitting first baseman Lucas Duda. He is a good ballplayer and a powerful left handed hitter but haven’t the Rays have been searching for another right handed hitter with power. So, why trade a right handed power hitter in Beckham and obtain a left handed hitter in Duda. In addition, Duda is restricted to first base and DH and that limits the Rays bench options.

Maybe this will all work and the Rays certainly have more roster moves to make when Kevin Kiermaier and Matt Duffy come back. However, the team still would like another right handed power hitter and neither Robertson or Duffy fit that bill.

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Meanwhile, Tim Beckham has gone11-for-16 with two home runs in four games for the Orioles, Miller is hitting below the Mendoza line and the Rays are rumored to be looking for a right handed hitting middle infielder with power.

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