Tim Beckham

Tim Beckham

The Rays thrive on playing match-ups against opposing teams in order to maximize the production of their players. In order to do that, they need guys that can play multiple positions. And there is some evidence that the Rays are grooming former top-pick Tim Beckham to be the next full-fledged utility guy.

Ben Zobrist has long been the Rays’ Mr. Do-It-All, but in 2012, he played just three positions (2b, SS, RF) and one of those (SS) only came about after the Rays had exhausted all their other options. And now that Elliot Johnson is in Kansas City, the role of utility player in 2013 is likely to be played by Kelly Johnson, who is expected to play second base, first base, and outfield this season. But he is just here on a one-year deal.

So who is next? Outside of signing another player like Johnson, the most likely candidate from within the organization is Beckham.

In 2012, the Rays started playing Beckham at second base, when Reid Brignac was demoted. But most believe the move was made to make room for prospect Hak-Ju Lee who is expected to be in triple-A this season and is considered a better big league shortstop prospect.

On top of that, Marc Topkin speculates that Beckham could see time in the outfield this season, noting he has the athleticism and attitude to make it work. And defensively, Joe Maddon says he is already a big leaguer…

“He can play here right now on the field and on the bases; he can’t play here yet consistently offensively…Once he’s able to do that, have a consistent approach and understand what he’s doing at the plate, he could play here consistently.”

The Rays are not an organization that is ever going to get caught up on what a player should have been and try to force something that isn’t there. Rather, they will take what they have and try to maximize its usefulness. And for Beckham, that might mean becoming the next Mr. Do-It-All starting in 2014.

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13 Comments

  1. Lane Meyer says:

    I'd rather see them groom him to be the everyday 2B and have Zobrist play RF and occasionally DH. All depends on Beckham's hitting though.

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  2. Don says:

    Funny you should mention Brignac, thats the first thing(name) I think about when Maddon & Co. start talking Beckham's "potential", If he wasn't a first round pick and they didn't have $6mil+ invested I doubt he gets a smell of the majors for what years if ever...not to forget what they passed on to get him, embarassing...

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  3. robert mitchell says:

    Once again the tease.As a Branyan fan[luv to see him get 6 more dingers for 200&33 ribs for 500.Though it seems his career is over with the continuing back issues.Released by Scranton Wilksbarre after 33 games 40 ribs,12 ding dongs.310 B.A.When his back went out July 6th and he couldn't return.

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  4. Mr.Smith 1980 says:

    Last I hear, Beckham was Swiss cheese at SS, now he's big-league ready when it comes to fielding?

    Yeah, and I've got a lead on a really nice bridge in Nebraska, comes with a home that happens to have an amazing ocean-front view with private beach access...

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  5. Gus says:

    He is becoming Bossman 2.0 -- another failed shortstop; they'll max his talents in the outfield as a defender and hope his bat comes along if he can stay off the hash pipe long enough. I wouldn't be surprised to see them pull a reverse Will Meyers if he has a good stretch in Durham and trade him for some other players. The Rays have enough history with top-rated position player prospects running into trouble at Durham to know that if you show me the troubled propsect at 21, I'll show you the failed prospect at 27.

    Of course, he is the pick of the genius crew under Sternberg, so he will get the benefit of the doubt because to cut him loose is to admit they made maybe the biggest error in the history of No. 1 draft picks (every other No. 1 pick excpet injured Brien Taylor and a Rangers' catcher from the arly 1970s made the majors); if Becks can't do that, then we've go real trouble.

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  6. Andrew is grossly overrated. Let Scott Hamilton go. Passed on Posey and picked Beckham. You never trade two starting pitchers for 4 prospects. The man's farm system has failed to develop successful position players. Many GM's in MLB are better than Friedman.

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    • Don says:

      Man, where you from?, your on the wrong site... this is the Friedman can do no wrong site, not the hes gave away the best players in baseball site to sign or develope who? Pitchers excluded...One or two WS would not have not been out of the question for the Rays in last 5 years with some "right" moves

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    • Mike says:

      Yea, that Scott Hamilton move was crazy. I mean, he is no Brian Boitano, but how could Andrew let him go.

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  7. Dave L says:

    Beckham is still only 23. Just because he hasn't turned out to justify his lofty draft status doesnt mean he can contribute going forward.

    Marlins fan for your info WD was not a SP in our organization. He was a former SP who struggled with his velocity as a SP and was an effective long reliever.

    Shields was headed for the overpaid stage of his career which we choose not to participate in.

    Get back to us in 3 years and then tell us how the TBR-KCR trade of 2013 worked out.

    Don looks like you found a soulmate. Congrats.

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