Seattle Mariners Trade a Day: Bend It Beckham Over to Cleveland

TOKYO, JAPAN - MARCH 20: Infielder Tim Beckham #1 of the Seattle Mariners hits a two-run homer to make it 9-4 in the 5th inning during the game between Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics at Tokyo Dome on March 20, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - MARCH 20: Infielder Tim Beckham #1 of the Seattle Mariners hits a two-run homer to make it 9-4 in the 5th inning during the game between Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics at Tokyo Dome on March 20, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images) /
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As we continue our Mariners trade a day series over the course of the next 6 weeks, we will talk a fair amount about trades that won’t be overly exciting. Tim Beckham will likely be involved in such a trade.

However, while these types of deals aren’t overly exciting, they can provide some good organizational depth, open up playing time on the Mariners big league roster, and do occasionally net teams MLB contributors.

The interesting thing about Tim Beckham is that Jerry Dipoto doesn’t have to trade him. While Beckham did sign a 1-year, $1.75 million deal, he won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2020 season.

So Seattle can keep Beckham around for dirt cheap next year or non-tender him a contract allowing him to become a free agent. This flexibility does help the value of Beckham some, as the acquiring team is basically acquiring a cheap rental with the option to extend him for 2020 at what will be less than $3 million.

But while Dipoto doesn’t need to trade Beckham, it would make sense to move him. J.P. Crawford and Shed Long appear to be the middle infield duo going forward (at least at the moment) and Dee Gordon will need playing time as well. Trading Beckham opens up the roster spot to get all 3 players enough PAs to stay in rhythm without sending one of the younger guys down.

But what kind of team could be interested in Beckham? What we are looking for is a team that is in contention, is looking for bench help, and preferably has an infield spot where they are getting no value against LHP.

In case you are wondering, I did just describe one team who fits this role exactly: the Cleveland Indians. How bad is it for Cleveland? I’m glad you asked. Currently, the second baseman of Cleveland has a whopping 1 wRC+ against LHP. That isn’t a typo. Their wRC+ against LHP is 1. Since the league average is 100, let’s safely call this a disaster.

By comparison, Beckham’s .275/.323/.508 slash and 125 wRC+ is Babe Ruth. Beckham seems like a natural fit for Cleveland, but what could the return be? Well, not a lot. Beckham doesn’t have insane value but is a nice depth piece for Cleveland. Here is our proposal:

So for Beckham, the Mariners nab former Gonzaga starter Eli Morgan, an eighth-round pick of Cleveland’s in 2017 who was recently promoted to AA. Morgan has fantastic numbers in his minor league career but does not carry the profile of the typical starting pitcher.

He’s a short RHP, standing at 5’10”, 190 lbs, and has a fastball that will struggle to break glass. His two breaking balls are fringe-average. But the changeup is his one plus offering. It is thrown with great arm action and has the running movement down the zone. It is a legitimate 65-grade offering.

Right now, he is more of a control over command type and as a result of his below-average stuff, it is a long shot he will be a big league starter. But if Seattle feels like they can sharpen one of the breaking balls and add velocity as they have done with Ljay Newsome, he has a chance at least.

dark. Next. Trade Proposal: Encarnacion to the Rays

Morgan is a lottery ticket with low odds to hit the jackpot but decent odds to be a useful middle innings reliever. Is it exciting? No. But it is about as good of a prospect as the Mariners can hope for Tim Beckham.

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