The Braves have announced that they’ve signed longtime White Sox infielder Gordon Beckham to a one-year deal. The Relativity Sports client will receive $1.25MM, with the possibility of an additional $500K worth of incentives.
Despite having been in the league for seven seasons, Beckham is still just 29 years of age. He’s coming off a disappointing season in Chicago that saw him bat a career-worst .209/.275/.332 in 237 plate appearances, though defensive metrics did praise his work at both second base and third base last season. Beckham carries a good bit of experience at both positions and is a lifetime .242/.304/.372 hitter that has averaged 13 homers per 162 games.
While he hasn’t lived up to the expectations many carried when he was selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2008 draft, Beckham will provide the Braves with an option at either second base or third base, both of which are positions of need in Atlanta. While Jace Peterson had a solid three-month run at second base in 2015, he wilted considerably from July through season’s end, hitting just .212/.281/.297 over his final 80 games/299 plate appearances. Some pegged Peterson as a utility player more than a starter when he was coming through the Padres’ system, and Beckham at least gives Atlanta a platoon partner for Peterson, who hit a dreadful .190/.234/.276 versus lefties in 2015.
At third base, Hector Olivera was believed to be a possible long-term option, but the Braves have recently transitioned him to the outfield, so there’s an opening at the hot corner as well. While Beckham probably won’t be counted on as an everyday option there, he does provide some experience at the position and give the Braves an element of depth.
Beckham’s signing could mean that infielder Pedro Ciriaco isn’t long for the Braves’ 40-man roster. The deadline to tender arbitration-eligible players a contract is tonight, and with Beckham and Adonis Garcia both serving as fellow right-handed options, the Braves could jettison the well-traveled Ciriaco.