Minnesota Twins: Why Tim Beckham isn’t the Real Answer at Short

Seattle Mariners left fielder Tim Beckham singles in a run against the Texas Rangers. (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)
Seattle Mariners left fielder Tim Beckham singles in a run against the Texas Rangers. (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Minnesota Twins aren’t currently able to sign any major league players, so there isn’t much the team can do, especially to fix it’s major hole at shortstop. That hasn’t stopped the team from trying.

The latest possible solution the team has added is 32-year-old Tim Beckham, journeyman shortstop and a former Top 100 prospect. Beckham’s career hasn’t been all that exciting and his biggest claim to fame is his status as former No. 1 overall pick.

Is Tim Beckham really the Minnesota Twins’ answer at shortstop?

He is however, the biggest MiLB signing made by the team (and arguably most of the league) this offseason. He’s a pretty well-known name, and just four years ago had a 20-homer season with a .782 OPS. That’s not bad coming from a starting shortstop.

But that was four years ago. Since then, he’s fallen off a cliff, struggling mightily to get on base and fighting to get on the field for a major league team. He spent the 2020 season in the minors with a cancelled season and played 45 (admittedly solid) games in the White Sox system last year.

He’s probably worth a spot on a major league roster somewhere, and it looks like he’s refined his ability to get on base. He just shouldn’t be the starting shortstop on any team that considers itself a playoff hopeful, let alone a contender.

Beckham is a terrible defender at baseball’s toughest defensive position. For reference, his stats (both standard and advanced) suggest he’s a slightly worse defender than Jorge Polanco, who the Twins worked hard to find a way to move away from shortstop. These stats were from three years ago as well, and now that Beckham is 32, it’s safe to assume he’s not getting better.

He can produce offensively, and his bat still has plenty of pop. He slugged .546 with 11 homers in just 45 games last year, proving he can still swing it. But he has had only one average season in the Majors, and it will be hard to match that now that he’s approaching his mid-30s.

Let me finish by talking about this: Tim Beckham is a fun baseball player. If he has a monster Spring Training and then wins the job, I hope he performs well. He’s easy to root for. If the Twins want to rebuild, he’s an okay option. The Twins just can’t go into the season with him as their guy at a key position if they want to contend.

Next. Why the MLB lockout could be especially bad for the Minnesota Twins. dark