What to do With Gordon Beckham

By Joe Tichy

25 years old.  A stud in college and a star in the College World Series.  Future Gold Glove candidate and can play second, short, and a little bit of third if need be.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  What if said player can’t have a fully successful season at the plate?  What if said player has a career average of .249 through 2.5 seasons?  The Chicago White Sox have that dilemma and need to figure out how to deal with it.

The White Sox selected Beckham with the 8th pick in the 2008 draft.  He hit .394 in the Arizona Fall League and was promoted to AAA after just 38 games in AA.  He was called up by the Sox almost exactly a year after he was drafted.  His initial struggles (2-28) didn’t scare the White Sox and they stuck with him for the rest of the year.  He was named the 2009 Sporting News American League Rookie of the Year.  His stats were nothing mindblowing, but they did warrant attention.  He finished with an average of .270, 14 homers, and 63 driven in after playing in 103 games.  All signs pointed upward for the young infielder.

2010 came along and he would earn a full time starting spot on the major league squad playing in 131 games.  His average dropped 18 points and he hit a paltry nine home runs and drove in 49.  2011 was even worse.  Playing in 150 games, he hit .230 with 10 homers, and 43 driven in.  He shined in the field, which makes it even tougher to figure out what to do with him.

Is there a team out there that would take a risk on a great fielder who can struggle mightily at the plate?  He can’t seem to get rid of a hitch in his swing that causes him to be late on almost every 93+ mile per hour fastball he swings at.  He also still has a tendency to swing at anything high and fast.  It is too late to send him to AAA.  Although he isn’t taking up a ton of cap space, you can’t bench him.  Taking him off the field on defense would be a liability to the team.  Alexei and Beckham have turned into a top double play duo.  With Ramirez still growing, it might also be a liability to take away someone he works well with in the field.

I wouldn’t put it past general manager Kenny Williams to put him out there on the block to see what kind of interest he musters up.  There aren’t many teams who are in need of a full-time starting second baseman.  What “major league-ready” talent would the Sox get in return for an offensively struggling second baseman?  Their best bet is to wait it out another year with Beckham and see what happens.  Patience may have to be at an all-time high for Sox fans this year, something that doesn’t come easy.

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