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When the Orioles acquired shortstop Tim Beckham from the Tampa Bay Rays for Short-A right-hander Tobias Myers at Monday’s trade deadline, there were a whole lot of questions that surfaced.
Why would a contending team deal a player off its 25-man roster to a division rival for a minor leaguer that won’t be ready for years?
Why did the Rays give up on Beckham, the first overall pick in the 2008 draft, when he finally started looking like he could be a productive major leaguer?
Why has it taken Beckham, 27, this long to become a potentially productive major leaguer?
Why does he look to have plus-speed (maybe just in comparison to the speed-challenged Orioles), but doesn’t have the stolen base totals to match it?
Is he a second baseman, a shortstop or somewhere in the middle (utility guy)?
Well, Marc Topkin might be the right person to answer those questions. Topkin, the Rays beat writer for the Tampa Bay Times, has been covering the team since its inception. He was covering the club when Beckham was drafted in 2008 and when Beckham made his debut in 2013. Topkin broke the story when the Rays dealt him to the Orioles on Monday, and he wrote his thoughts about the deal in this piece.
He has seen the good and the bad of Beckham’s long-winding career – Beckham was suspended 50 games in the minors in 2012 for a second failed test for a “drug of abuse” and was dogged by Rays fans for not living up to lofty draft expectations, but also had been a key member of this year’s resurgent club.
So, Topkin provides a little perspective on Beckham and the trade in this “Around The Beat” podcast. Topkin also offers a glimpse as to what the Orioles acquired on Friday when they traded for Philadelphia Phillies’ right-hander Jeremy Hellickson.
Hellickson, who pitched a gem Wednesday in his first outing for the Orioles, debuted as a big leaguer seven years ago with the Rays, so Topkin is familiar with him, too.
And, as a beat writer in the American League East, Topkin has an informed perspective on how the deadline moves affected the divisional race. Give it a listen.