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Rays trade Tim Beckham to Orioles

The Rays clear up their middle-infield logjam while the Orioles acquire a potential successor to J.J. Hardy.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times first reported Monday, the Rays have traded infielder Tim Beckham to the Orioles in exchange for minor-league starting pitcher Tobias Myers.

It looked as if Beckham, the first overall pick in the 2008 draft, was on the outs with the Rays heading into this season, as he had struggled to stick with Tampa’s major-league club and he was sent home for the month of September last year after not hustling.

But with a vacancy at shortstop due to Matt Duffy’s lingering Achilles injury, the 27-year-old Beckham had a rather productive first half, hitting .274/.327/.433 with 11 homers. After the Rays acquired Adeiny Hechavarria from the Marlins late last month, though, Beckham was moved to second base, and he’s struggled in recent weeks. Since the All-Star break, Beckham is hitting .150/.227/.225 with one homer.

The Beckham trade clears up a significant middle infield logjam for the Rays. Brad Miller has struggled to find playing time, top prospect Willy Adames is set to reach the majors sooner than later, and Duffy and Daniel Robertson are capable of contributing up the middle once they come off the DL, so there wasn’t going to be a long-term spot for Beckham.

He’ll presumably solidify the Orioles’ shortstop position, from which they’ve struggled to get production this season. J.J. Hardy was struggling at the plate prior to sustaining a right wrist fracture in June, and since he’s been on the DL, Ruben Tejada has provided solid defense but virtually no offensive production in his place. Beckham, who is club-controlled through 2020, could be Hardy’s long-term replacement at short if the Orioles decide to decline the 34-year-old’s $14 million option for 2018.

Myers, an 18-year-old right-hander, was a sixth-round pick in last year’s draft. In seven starts this season for the short-season Aberdeen IronBirds, he has a 3.94 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP. He was not ranked among the Orioles’ top 30 prospects by MLB Pipeline.