The Mariners optioned Gordon Beckham to Triple-A Tacoma last night, but as a player with five years of Major League service time, he’ll have the ability to decline the optional assignment in favor of free agency. It doesn’t appear that Beckham has made up his mind yet, as MLB.com’s Greg Johns tweets that the Mariners are hopeful he’ll decide to remain in the organization but apparently have not yet been informed whether he’ll report. The veteran 31-year-old hit just .206/.270/.235 in 39 plate appearances with Seattle, but he raked at a .300/.412/.500 pace in 114 plate appearances at the Triple-A level prior to having his contract selected earlier this season.
Here’s more from the division…
- Jake Kaplan of The Athletic takes an interesting look at the Astros’ revamped scouting department in its first full year of deployment (subscription link). The Houston organization took plenty of heat for electing not to renew the contracts of eight pro scouts last season, and Kaplan examines the new operation and chats with GM Jeff Luhnow about the team’s scouting processes. While the Astros still send scouts to watch amateur talent (high school, college, Latin America, etc.), their pro scouting now relies primarily on video and data analysis. As Kaplan notes, they’ll occasionally send scouts to a park to watch a Major League or Minor League player if they feel they need a closer look, but the organization no longer does so with regularity. “It’s allowing us to have what we think is the best balance for us of field scouting versus information scouting,” says Luhnow. “Because we’re capturing a lot of information out in the field from technology, from video, from other things, and we have to spend a tremendous amount of time reviewing that information.”
- The Rangers’ decision to option Ryan Rua to Triple-A has pushed Joey Gallo into the role of backup center fielder for the time being, writes Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Manager Jeff Banister explained that he’s comfortable playing Gallo at any of the three outfield spots if needed, though Gallo would only need to shift over to center field if Delino DeShields were unable to take the field due to an injury. It’s a bit surprising to see Gallo in that role, though as Wilson notes, it’s possible that he may only need to be DeShields’ backup for a matter of days. Texas has to activate outfielder Carlos Tocci from the disabled list this weekend, and as a Rule 5 pick, he’ll have to either be added back to the 25-man roster or designated for assignment. It’s not clear which way the Rangers will go, but given that they’re already out of contention on June 1, the team can certainly afford to roster a Rule 5 player through season’s end if they choose. Tocci, 22, has just two hits and a walk through 28 plate appearances for the Rangers this season. The fleet-footed outfielder has a strong defensive reputation, though, and hit well for the Phillies’ top two minor league affiliates in 2017 (.294/.346/.381).