Locked in a tight battle with the Oakland Athletics atop the AL West, the Los Angeles Angels have made a move to acquire second baseman Gordon Beckham from the Chicago White Sox.
The Los Angeles Times' Bill Shaikin has the news:
Beckham was at the center of trade rumors as the July 31 deadline came and went, but talks of his eventual departure from Chicago only continued to stir. Still, he took it all in stride.
“I’m doing the best I can, playing as hard as I can,’’ Beckham told the Chicago Sun-Times' Daryl Van Schouwen. “For me, it’s in God’s hands. So I’ll just try to have fun and be passionate about the game.’’
The former top-10 pick was hitting just .221/.263/.336 with seven home runs and 36 RBI in 101 games. Of course, the Halos aren't looking for a game-changer at this point, just the addition of a utility man who could potentially provide a small boost in September.
Jeff Fletcher of the OC Register explained what the 27-year-old's role will look like in L.A.:
#Angels have acquired Gordon Beckham. He will come off bench. Can play 2B, 3b, SS— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) August 21, 2014
#Angels Gordon Beckham will join team on Saturday. He's expected to fill in vs LHPs. Traded for a PTBN.— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) August 21, 2014
It's an interesting move. Although Beckham has been frustratingly inconsistent for much of the season (70 strikeouts to just 19 walks), he has continued to ravage left-handed hitting. In 107 plate appearances, he is hitting a robust .309/.349/.454.
That's a steep upgrade over switch-hitting shortstop Erick Aybar, whose splits against lefties sit at just .226/.257/.323. However, there's also defensive acumen you have to take into account.
As Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal noted, Beckham has next to no experience in between second and third:
Will be interesting if #Angels try Beckham at SS to spell Aybar vs. LHPs. Aybar .580 OPS vs. LHPs in ‘14. Beckham 6 innings at SS last year.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 21, 2014
Those six innings last season are the extent of Beckham’s experience at SS in the majors. Has played second almost exclusively.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 21, 2014
After news broke Thursday that ace Garrett Richards will miss the remainder of the season, the Angels were in search of a positive addition.
While this clearly doesn't quell the concerns around the starting rotation, it's a nice gamble that could pay dividends while L.A. attempts to hold off Oakland down the stretch.