For one thing, the trade deadline transaction came as the teams were within a couple games of each other in the standings and just outside of the second wild card berth.
Beyond the standings, there was the return. The Rays got an 18-year-old starting pitcher, Tobias Myers, drafted in the sixth round in 2016. Some fans bemoaned this, continually pointing to Beckham’s former claim-to-fame of being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft. That was 10 years ago and the infielder is a career .258 hitter who is just now on track to play 100 games in the same Major League Baseball season.
Whether the trade was a positive or negative will play itself out over time. As of right now, Beckham’s making himself at home in orange and black. He’s taken over at shortstop for the oft-injured J.J. Hardy and injected a little extra pop into the Orioles lineup.
Entering Sunday’s matinee against the Detroit Tigers, Beckham’s batting .650 (13-for-20) with three home runs, three doubles, a triple, five runs batted in and six runs scored in his first five games with Baltimore. As nice as the 1.350 slugging percentage and 2.000 on-base-plus-slugging percentage look, it’s a safe bet those stats will be coming back down to earth shortly.
If Beckham does keep producing, the Orioles will have a similar decision to make in their infield by mid-August. Hardy is eligible to return Aug. 18 and manager Buck Showalter has told the media that the 34-year-old will be plugged back in at shortstop. If that’s the case, Beckham won’t be able to just slide over to second base (Jonathan Schoop) or third base (Manny Machado).