Mariners sign different infielder Beckham than last year's infielder Beckham
The Mariners signed two free agents yesterday to Major League contracts, infielder Tim Beckham (not to be confused with veteran Gordon Beckham, who spent the last two years bouncing back and forth between the M's and their Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma) and relief pitcher Cory Gearrin.
Beckham, who will be 29 later this month, came up with the Tampa Bay Rays and spent the last season and a half with Baltimore. Primarily a shortstop, he's also logged plenty of innings at both third base and second base. He figures to be the Mariners' utility infielder and provide a ready alternative at short should the club determine newcomer J.P. Crawford to need more time at Triple-A.
A career .252 hitter, Beckham made his Major League debut with a brief late-season callup in 2013 and broke in for good in 2015. He opened 2017 as the Rays' everyday shortstop and was traded at the July 31 deadline that year to the Orioles. That was his best season statistically, as he batted .278/.328/.454; last year as Baltimore's primary shortstop, he regressed significantly to a .230/.287/.374 line, but he also had core-muscle surgery in May and simultaneously had to recover from tears to both hamstrings. He did close the season on a high note with a .297 batting average in September.
Gearrin, a right-hander drafted by the Braves in 2007, has been a reliever for his entire professional career. Over six seasons with the Braves and Giants, the Tennessean went 10-8 with a 3.47 ERA and unimpressive 1.268 WHIP in 1891⁄3 innings. Last year he seemed to benefit from a change of scenery after the Giants traded him to the Texas Rangers in July; after a 4.20 ERA/1.533 WHIP performance with San Francisco in the first half, Gearrin was 1-0 with a 2.53 ERA and a remarkably good 0.891 WHIP in 21 games with Texas before getting dealt again on the last day for waiver trades, this time to Oakland, where he pitched only minimally (six innings).