The Mariners have signed infielder Tim Beckham and right-handed reliever Cory Gearrin to one-year contracts, with Beckham’s deal coming in at $1.75 million with $250,000 in incentives. USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale was the first to report the Beckham deal, while The Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish broke the Gearrin signing:
The Seattle #Mariners sign free-agent infielder Tim Beckham to a one-year, $1.75 million deal with $250K in incentives.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 10, 2019
Sources confirm Mariners are signing infielder Tim Beckham and they are also signing reliever Cory Gearrin — both to one-year contracts.— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) January 10, 2019
Beckham, 28, was the No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft, and while he hasn’t been a total disappointment, he’s had one of the more middling careers for any top pick in the history of the draft. Over five seasons split between the Rays and Orioles, he’s posted a .252/.304/.424 slash line with 48 homers while seeing action at all four infield positions — most prominently shortstop.
He should be a solid utility infielder off the Mariners’ bench, especially since they didn’t have a proven backup middle infielder prior to this signing, and if J.P. Crawford continues to struggle mightily at the plate like he has for most of his last three professional seasons, perhaps Beckham could end up as Seattle’s everyday shortstop at some point.
The 32-year-old Gearrin, meanwhile, is a sidearmer who is deathly against righties and at times has been very good against hitters on both sides of the plate. He’s held right-handed hitters to a .228/.309/.331 slash line over seven seasons, and though left-handed hitters have a .765 OPS against him for his career, he did hold lefties to a .209/.306/.349 line in 2016. Gearrin’s 2018 campaign was split between three teams — the Giants, Rangers, and Athletics — and he was solid but unspectacular, posting a 3.77 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP while striking out 53 and walking 21.
In a weak Mariners bullpen that’s been torn apart by free agency and the trade of Edwin Diaz, Gearrin should have a solid shot at commanding a late-inning role, and with the team not having an established closer, it’s perhaps possible that he could be in line for some ninth-inning opportunities against tough righties if manager Scott Servais takes a closer-by-committee approach.