In a relatively small move Saturday afternoon, the Twins signed shortstop Tim Beckham to a minor league contract. According to Darren Wolfson, the deal will be worth $1 million should Beckham make the major league roster.
Beckham, the former 2008 number one overall pick by Tampa Bay, last saw major league action in 2019 with Seattle when he hit .237/.293/.461, good for an exactly league average .753 OPS. His season would then end early due to an 80-game PED suspension. More recently, Beckham spent the 2021 season with the Chicago White Sox’s Triple A affiliate, the Charlotte Knights, where he hit for a .875 OPS and hit 11 home runs in just 45 games.
While Beckham has primarily played shortstop throughout his career, he hasn’t done it particularly well. In 2019, Beckham committed 12 errors in 344.1 innings at shortstop. His .931 fielding percentage was the second-worst in the league for shortstops that played at least 300 innings at the position. In 2021 at Triple A Charlotte, he committed 5 errors in 124.1 innings, good for a .919 fielding percentage. Despite his struggles with the leather, Beckham rebranded himself as a utility option. In his last major league season, Beckham appeared in at least five games at first base, second base, third base, shortstop, and left field.
If nothing else, this signing provides depth to stash in the minor leagues should the Twins be unable to find a solution at shortstop whenever the lockout concludes. If the season started today, the Twins starting shortstop would likely be Nick Gordon, which doesn’t bode well. Jorge Polanco is always an option, but after his stellar year on the other side of the infield, I don’t think the coaching staff would be interested in moving him back to short. Having backup plans is always critical due to the unpredictability of injuries. It’s even more important when the primary plan is still unclear.