Report: Angels in “Holding Pattern” with Gordon Beckham


Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reported on Wednesday morning that negotiations between the Angels and free agent infielder, Gordon Beckham, are “in a holding pattern.” Angels’ general manager, Jerry Dipoto, has made it abundantly clear this offseason that re-signing Beckham is a priority for the club. However, according to Fletcher, it appears Beckham is seeking a guaranteed starting job in free agency.

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The Halos opted not to offer salary arbitration to Beckham on December 2nd, thus making him a free agent. Beckham was anticipated to make roughly $5 million through arbitration this winter. The Angels were in a vulnerable position financially at the time, and must have felt the funds would be better spent elsewhere.

At the MLB Winter Meetings last week, Angels’ skipper, Mike Scioscia, had this to say regarding the 28-year-old’s versatility defensively:

"“I think Gordon is terrific in three positions: Second, third and short. Probably second is his most natural position. But he absolutely ‑‑ I mean, that was one of the things when Gordon came over and particularly when you have John McDonald playing short and third for us and being able to fill in, to be able to evaluate Gordon, to be able to evaluate him at shortstop. And there’s no doubt that he can play shortstop and play at the Major League level and has the skill set for it. I think Gordon is a terrific player and hopefully we’re still going to get an opportunity to get him back.”"

The Chicago White Sox traded Beckham to the Halos this past August after batting just .221 across 390 at bats with the Pale Hos. Beckham played much better in an Angels’ uniform, batting .268, with 2 home runs and 8 RBI’s in limited action down the stretch. Dipoto places a lot of value on a player’s ability to get on base. Beckham posted an impressive .328 OBP in 56 at bats last summer with the Halos.

Aug 29, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels second baseman Gordon Beckham before the game against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Beckham is a plus defender, who has the ability to play all over the infield. As Scioscia suggested in his recent comments, Beckham appears to be most comfortable manning second base. In 2014 Beckham posted a range factor per 9 innings of 5.16, which annihilated the league average of 4.61. Beckham also bested the league average for range factor per game (4.60), posting a 4.99. The Angels like the versatility Beckham brings defensively, as well as his veteran savvy.

From a need perspective, the Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals make the most sense as possible landing spots for Beckham. Both the Blue Jays and Nationals are searching for second base depth, and neither squad currently has a starting caliber second baseman on the roster. However, I get the sense that Beckham is hoping to play closer to home in 2015. Beckham grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and starred at the University of Georgia before being selected by the White Sox in the first round of the 2008 draft. Los Angeles is a long way from Georgia in distance and culture. Finding an interested team in the southeast might appeal to Beckham and his family. I have no facts to support this notion, but that is the sense I get from the young man.

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At this juncture, I personally do not see any point in the Angels bringing Beckham back on a multi-year deal. After a busy week that saw the Angels acquire promising infielders, Josh Rutledge, Taylor Featherston, and, Chris Curley, it is safe to say the Halos have brought in enough second base competition for, Grant Green. Rutledge is interesting in particular as he possesses a similar skill set to Beckham, but is three years younger, and has much more offensive upside.

The Halos hold the leverage in this negotiation. There is not much demand for a 28-year-old middle infielder with a career .245 batting average. The likelihood of Beckham receiving the contract he desires is slim. I would wait him out, and see if he would be interested in a one-year reunion with the Halos for a couple million dollars. If Beckham declines, I would be more than content utilizing Rutledge or Green at second base next season.

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