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.