The Tigers have selected the contract of veteran infielder Gordon Beckham, as per a team announcement. Right-hander Michael Fulmer (who will undergo Tommy John surgery) was placed on the 60-day IL in order to create room for Beckham on the 40-man roster. Infielder Ronny Rodriguez was also optioned to Triple-A.
In another move, the Tigers have also released catcher Bobby Wilson, as per Anthony Fenech of the Detroit News (Twitter link). Multiple Tigers beat reporters noted earlier today that Wilson’s locker at the club’s Spring Training complex had been cleared out. Beckham and Wilson were both in camp on minor league contracts, vying to win jobs on a Detroit team with needs to fill at both the utility infield and backup catcher positions.
Beckham enjoyed a big spring at the plate, and is now set to appear in an eleventh MLB season for his sixth different franchise. Picked eighth overall by the White Sox in the 2008 draft, Beckham has spoken openly about the pressures he faced early in his career to live up to that top-prospect billing, as his career began to move along more of a journeyman path. He even considered retirement if he hadn’t made the Tigers’ roster this spring, though that appears to be a moot point now that he’ll suit up for Opening Day.
Beckham appeared in just 33 Major League games over the last two seasons, spending most of his time in the Mariners’ minor league system. The 32-year-old has a .329/.302/.366 slash line over 3542 career plate appearances, though his biggest role will be to provide backup at second base and third base. (Beckham could also fill in at shortstop in a pinch, with a handful of games at the position over his career.)
With rookie Grayson Greiner in line for regular catching duty in Detroit, the Tigers brought veterans Wilson and Hector Sanchez into camp to provide competition for the backup job, as ostensible backup John Hicks will also be getting some time at first base. Cameron Rupp was also acquired from the Giants a few weeks ago, which seems to have left Wilson out of the mix.
Wilson appeared in 47 games for Minnesota last season, his first taste of big league action since 2016 (when he played for the Rays, Rangers, and the Tigers in an earlier stint). A veteran of nine MLB seasons, Wilson has been known more for his defense and game-calling abilities than his bat, with just a .208/.264/.313 slash line over an even 1000 PA.
Tigers have new policy comes down from senior management, no more players from the line of Wilson can play for a Tiger!
If that were really Beckham’s career slash line he wouldn’t be an NRI. Looks like some numbers are jumbled…
The posterchild for the argument against rushing a prospect to the majors. Under 100 minor league games before getting called up less than a year after being drafted. Was good in the first year but didn’t adjust.
Have to wonder if he had spend 3 or so years slowly progressing through the minors if he would have had a more successful career
I thought Gordon Beckham won this spot in Spring over Ronnie Rodriguez. The Tigers are using veterans over youth. Next season the team will look very different.
Good for Beckham. And hopefully Ronny tears it up with every day ABs at Toledo and forces a call up
The slash line stood out to me… should .239, not .329 average
Yea hard to hit .329 when you have a .302 OBP
The term “slashed” should be replaced by “flailed” when the numbers are like Wilson’s.
His obp was 27 points lower than his average?
Beckham wishes that he was a .329 hitter.
Best wishes to Beckham for a successful tenure in Detroit. Tiger fans will love the way he plays.
Disappointing to see the Tigers chose a veteran over a rookie when rebuilding. I think it came down to Ronny had options. He also has more power, and can play SS. I thought his spring was as good as Beckham’s, so I would have gone with the younger player. Still, it’s not that big a deal as neither projects as more than a bench player.
ronny is not a rookie. seasoned minor leaguer
Hey Mark, please correct Beckham’s slash. Thanks for the article! Good luck Gordon, I know it’s been a tough road for you!
I would have much rather seen Ronny Rodríguez make the team he’s a much better hitter…….. a big factor could be that they saw them as close to even players but Gordon Beckham’s father in law is the tigers traveling hitting coach…..
Was kind of surprised about Wilson as he was supposedly signed to be Jake Rogers mentor in the minors, not necessarily as a threat to make the roster. But from what has been reported by Fenech, the Tigers were not willing to pay him $100K to catch in the minors.
Beckham earned the job with a good spring. I know there are a lot of Ronnie Rodriguez fans around Detroit, but he is really a AAAA player who has major issues with strike zone discipline. Plus, the Tigers are likely to go with an 8 man pen to start due to a lack of off days. Once they go back to a traditional 7 man pen, he certainly could be back in Detroit.
Agreed that Ronny is more of a AAAA player but isn’t Beckham the same thing? Plus Ronny is a better hitter and can play all infield position(including 1B) and is younger