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August 2, 2017

Transaction Analysis

Beckham Bounced to Baltimore

by Collin Whitchurch, Jarrett Seidler and Greg Goldstein


IN THIS ISSUE

American League

BALTIMORE ORIOLES
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Acquired INF-R Tim Beckham from Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for RHP Tobias Myers. [7/31]

Acquired RHP Yefrey Ramirez from New York Yankees in exchange for international signing bonus pool money. [7/31]

Beckham represents the kind of acquisition that makes sense for a team in the Orioles’ position. Despite the logjam in the middle of the AL Wild Card race, their playoff odds sit at just 4.2 percent. Reports of them becoming sellers and jettisoning some of their valuable bullpen arms—Zach Britton, Brad Brach—lingered in the days and hours leading up to the deadline, but the team instead followed up the low-risk, low-reward addition of Jeremy Hellickson with this move for Beckham.

The former no. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft never quite found his footing in Tampa Bay, seeing his prospect shine wear off almost entirely just two years after he was drafted (he last appeared in our Top 101 pre-2010). He’s since settled in as a competent backup middle infielder, comfortable covering both second base and shortstop while putting up inoffensive numbers. Beckham has some power, with 26 homers in 725 career at-bats, but it comes with an ugly 246/51 K/BB ratio and sub-.300 on-base percentage.

For a team that’s both not in contention but not willing to go scorched earth, Beckham represents a reasonable buy in both the short and long term. From the perspective of 2017, he’ll likely see plenty of time at shortstop with J.J. Hardy on the 60-day disabled list and Ruben Tejada representing a zero offensively. He’s also under club control through 2020 and could be an option to replace Hardy next season, should the O’s decline their $14 million team option on the veteran who will be 35 years old at the start of next season. —Collin Whitchurch

Continuing their annual fire sale on international bonus slots, the Orioles send another one away and this time pick up a more significant prospect in starter Ramirez, as the Yankees continue to clear out the pitching jam at the back of their 40-man roster. Acquired from the Diamondbacks before the 2016 season in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft shortly after a conversion to pitching, Ramirez moved very quickly through the low minors, reaching Double-A to start this season. He’s continued to pitch well there, and at 23 he’s even aged appropriately for the level now.

Confounding the expectations that most converted position players have huge velocity, Ramirez more works in the 90-93 mph range with some cut. He’ll also mix in a slurvy breaking ball and a changeup, both fringe average. It’s a back-of-the-rotation starter’s stuff, but it comes with a high-effort motion that makes the long-term projection tougher. It’s a nice swap of assets—the Orioles get a decent pitching prospect for an international slot they were never going to use, and the Yankees clear another 40-man spot and pick up more international room that they certainly will use. —Jarrett Seidler

TAMPA BAY RAYS
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Acquired RHP Tobias Myers from Baltimore Orioles in exchange for INF-R Tim Beckham. [7/31]

You normally don’t see 18-year-old short-season pitchers getting dealt in a 1-for-1 deal like this, but the Rays are getting a promising young right-hander to groom at the lower levels of the minors. Listed at just six foot, and perhaps standing shorter than that, Myers' stuff plays bigger than his size. The former sixth-round pick has a loose arm and athletic motion that helps him sit at 92-93 mph throughout an outing, touching the mid-90s at times. The fastball also has some arm-side run to it that can play for strikeouts, and he does a decent job of keeping it in the strike zone for such an inexperienced starting pitcher.

His secondaries and command have a long way to go, however. He’s a three-pitch hurler at the moment, with his curveball flashing some tightness and late break, even though he struggles to command and consistently throw it with a solid break. He’s also learning a changeup, but has a ways to go in making it a workable offering. Still, Myers’ athleticism, loose arm action, and compact delivery make you think that, given his youth, he can really start honing these offerings toward average as he climbs a system. The Rays have acquired a project, but Myers shows considerable talent and has a chance to remain a starter long term. If not, his projected quality velocity should play well in the bullpen. There’s certainly talent to work with here. —Greg Goldstein

Jarrett Seidler is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jarrett's other articles. You can contact Jarrett by clicking here

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