Would a Gordon Beckham Trade to the Blue Jays Revive His MLB Career?

Josh Schoch@JoshSchochAnalyst IIIOctober 30, 2013

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 23:  Gordon Beckham #15 of the Chicago White Sox bats against the Toronto Blue Jays at U.S. Cellular Field on September 23, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Blue Jays 3-2.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Toronto Blue Jays have apparently expressed interest in Chicago White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham.

The No. 8 overall pick in the 2008 MLB draft has never quite lived up to the hype that was surrounding him when he came out of Westminster High School, but Scott Merkin and Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com broke the news that the Blue Jays are looking to trade for him.

MLB.com has learned that the Blue Jays have interest in acquiring the White Sox second baseman, which dates back to last offseason, when the possibility of a trade was first explored. The interest has since been renewed with general manager Alex Anthopoulos intent on upgrading the position.

Beckham is arbitration eligible for the second time this offseason, and the 27-year-old is under team control through the 2015 season.

/Getty Images

The White Sox were hoping that they drafted a star when they took a chance on the high school prospect, but he has yet to pan out. With five years in the big leagues under his belt, Beckham's time to prove his worth is running out.

He is coming off yet another disappointing season. A broken hamate bone in his right hand forced him to miss two months of the regular season. He ended up playing in just 103 games and put up some of the worst power numbers of his career.

The White Sox and their fans are growing tired of Beckham's struggles in the pros. He has been one of the biggest disappointments for the team this decade, and some fans are ready to see him go North of the border.

I remember when Gordon Beckham was considered an untouchable player. Sounds like the White Sox brass r wising up. #tradetheman

— Andre Michaelson (@wearandtear1014) October 30, 2013

Beckham might be just as ready to leave as the fans are to see him go. He's been struggling in Chicago over the past five years, and a change of scenery could do him some good.

The biggest question facing Beckham is whether or not a move to Toronto could be enough to turn around his career.

The biggest positive for Beckham would be that he would be playing in a dome in Toronto. The Rogers Centre has a retractable dome, and we've seen Beckham excel when he plays inside.

Gordon Beckham Stats in Domes
Baseball Reference

As you can see, Beckham's batting average goes up nearly 60 points when he plays in a dome, and his power numbers increase across the board as well.

The Blue Jays' decision to turn the Rogers Centre into a grass field could have hurt Beckham, should he be traded. However, the new grass won't be installed until 2017, meaning that Beckham's final two years under team control would be spent on artificial turf.

Beckham excels on artificial turf. He bats over .300 and has never been caught stealing on it.

However, Beckham has struggled in the Rogers Centre itself, batting a pathetic .172/.250/.207 with two RBI and zero home runs in nine games over the course of his career.

Gordon Beckham Stats in Rogers Centre
Rogers Centre9.172/.250/.20702
Baseball Reference

While we have a very small sample size to examine, Beckham has yet to play well when he's in Toronto.

If all goes well, Beckham's struggles in his first nine games in the Rogers Centre should be forgotten. There might not be a better stadium for him to play in, as he is at his best in a dome with artificial turf.

Sep 26, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham (15) makes a throw to first base against the Kansas City Royals during the ninth inning at U.S Cellular Field. Kansas City defeats Chicago 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-U

Beckham would also benefit from being part of a much more productive lineup. The Blue Jays ranked ninth in runs scored in MLB this year, as opposed to the White Sox ranking 29th.

Here's a look at how both lineups would look with Beckham at second base:

Batting OrderToronto Blue JaysGPBA/OBP/SLGHRRBI
1SS Jose Reyes93.296/.353/.4271037
2CF Rajai Davis108.260/.312/.375624
3RF Jose Bautista118.259/.358/.4982873
4DH Edwin Encarnacion142.272/.370/.53436104
53B Brett Lawrie107.254/..315/.3971146
61B Adam Lind143.288/.357/.4972367
72B Gordon Beckham103.267/.322/.372524
8C J.P. Arencibia138.194/.227/.2652155
9LF Kevin Pillar36.206/.250/.333313
Batting OrderChicago White SoxGPBA/OBP/SLGHRRBI
1LF Alejandro De Aza153.264/..323/.4051762
2SS Alexi Ramirez158.284/.313/.380648
31B Paul Konerko126.244/..313/.3551254
4RF Avisail Garcia42.304/.327/.447521
5CF Jordan Danks79.231/.313/.369512
6DH Dayan Viciedo124.265/.304/.4261456
72B Gordon Beckham103.267/.322/.372524
83B Marcus Semien21.261/.268/.40627
9C Josh Phegley65.206/.223/.299422

Being surrounded by guys like Jose Bautista and Jose Reyes would help Beckham drive in more runs, and his production would certainly increase in such a better lineup.

Sep 21, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham (15) hits an RBI single in the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The playing conditions in Toronto should help Beckham, but their impact won't be enough to help him live up to the lofty goals that were set for him when he was drafted in the top 10 in 2008.

As a top 10 pick, Beckham was expected to bat close to .300 and put up solid power numbers. He has done neither to this point, and it would be foolish to expect a trade to Toronto to be enough for him to turn around his disappointing career.

Even if Beckham is playing north of the border next season, don't expect him to turn into the star he was expected to be overnight.


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