The Twins signed an infielder Tim Beckhamthe first pick of the 2008 amateur draft, to a minor league deal, Dan Hayes of The Athletic reported this morning. Darren Wolfson of the Minneapolis KSTP News reports that the deal will pay Beckham around $1 million if he makes the roster of greats.

Beckham signed with the Rays for a record $6.15 million (the Giants donated Buster Poseydrafted fifth overall the same year, $6.2 million shortly after) but never really hit his stride in the minors, posting a strong but unspectacular .275/.328/.389 line at 19 at Low-A Bowling Green in 2009 and a similar .256/.346/.359 line at High-A Charlotte in 2010. Near-identical numbers at Double-A Montgomery in 2011 earned him a 24-game stint at Triple-A Durham, but he hit his first major snag in 2012, when a second positive test for what MLB calls “drugs of abuse” (a collection of non-performance-enhancing recreational drugs that includes marijuana) landed him a 50 game suspension.

After repeating Triple-A in 2013 (where his .276/.342/.387 batting line again effectively matched his standard output in the minor leagues), Beckham recorded eight trips to the plate in five games in the big leagues after a summons in September. . A torn ACL sustained in off-season training robbed the former top prospect of his 2014 season, and his output thereafter never approached the lofty expectations attached to a first overall pick. After posting a .247/.299/.421 line in 791 board appearances over four season games in Tampa, the Rays traded him to the Orioles for pitcher Tobias Myer at the commercial deadline of 2017.

This 2017 season remains Beckham’s best, with his .278/.328/.454 overall line (including a .306/.348/.523 mark in 50 games in Baltimore) representing a clear high line; his 22 home runs, 62 RBIs and 2.5 bWAR were also all career highs. Overall, Beckham, who hasn’t seen the majors since taking five positions in 88 games with Seattle in 2019, has collected a triple slash of .249/.302/.431 in parts of six league seasons. major. His 2019 season ended early after he tested positive for the anabolic steroid Stanozolol, earning him an 80-game suspension under the terms of MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

While it’s clear that Beckham – who will play aged 32 in 2022 – will never reach the cap many envisioned for the consensus top high school prospect in the 2008 draft, his career numbers suggest he could still be a useful big league player, especially given his positional versatility. The twins are probably placed at the corners between Josh Donaldson and Miguel Sanobut their intermediate field remains in evolution. Jorge Polanco is a certainty for the man, whether at second or shortstop – Luis Arraez could move to a day-to-day keystone role if Polanco steps in at short notice – but manager Rocco Baldelli might prefer to move Arraez between second and third, especially if the Twins look to keep Donaldson healthy in regular time to DH.

Royce Lewis (a former first-round pick himself, and who missed all of 2021 with his own torn ACL) remains Minnesota’s likely future shortstop, but he hasn’t played since 2019 and probably won’t see the big guys in 2022 unless it blows the top miner competition out of the water for at least a few months. While the Twins were active on the periphery on some big names before lockdown and will likely at least do their due diligence on Trevor’s Story each time it ends, they are much more likely to look for a short-term fix.

There is every reason to expect Beckham to get a real shot at competing for a benching role in the Twin Cities, particularly if the club’s plan calls for Arraez to take on a more regular starting role. As it stands, it would probably compete with Nick Gordon and maybe explore austin martin (who has never played above Double-A but may have a chance to compete for the starting role in the short term) for a utility role on the Twins’ bench.

Although he hasn’t seen the majors since 2019, Beckham had his best seasons in the minor leagues in 2021. He posted a .279/.330/.546 line in 45 games with the Charlotte Knights, the Triple-A affiliate of the White Sox. If Beckham doesn’t make the roster of greats, the Twins could also look to hide him at Triple-A St. Paul as injury cover.

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