Gordon Beckham, who was on the Giants for 72 hours and has the same haircut as Wayne from The Wonder Years, is back on a minor-league deal. According to Jon Heyman, Beckham will make $1.25 million if he* makes the major league roster.
* Beckham, not Heyman
There are a couple of ways to look at this. The first is without a ton of context. The Giants liked Beckham as a person. He’s apparently friends with Buster Posey. He made an impression on them in those three days, and they wanted him back. As a utility infielder, he could be serviceable. He’s not too dissimilar from Joaquin Arias, right down to the former-prospect pedigree. A person who gets overly concerned about spring-training invitees or third-string utility infielders is a person who isn’t going to be with us very long.
The second way to look at this is with the context. The Giants almost certainly don’t need another utility infielder. This was true two utility infielders ago. They just designated one for assignment, and he was intriguing enough to be claimed by two different teams in the same week, but, sorry, no room in the Utility Infielder Motel. They re-signed Ramiro Peña early in the offseason, and months later, he figured out there wasn’t room for him, so he asked if he could take a better offer overseas.
If I had to do a Utility Infielder Who Can Play Shortstop Power Rankings — with my opinions, not with the likelihood of them making the team — they would go something like ...
- Jae-gyun Hwang
- Kelby Tomlinson
- Conor Gillaspie
- Orlando Calixte (because he can play center)
- Jimmy Rollins
- Gordon Beckham
- Juniel Querecuto
It should be noted one more time that the Giants don’t need one of their two utility infielders to play shortstop, considering that Eduardo Nuñez could be a de facto backup. They just need their utility infielders to play third, really.
Still, flexibility is nice, so having a designated shortstop for rest or insurance makes a modest amount of sense. Beckham plays a few games there every year, still, so he could be that quasi-shortstop.
What would have to happen for Beckham to make the team? The Giants would have to have different rankings, for one. We know that Gillaspie is probably near the top for them, which would give them one more spot. Tomlinson has options, maybe Hwang disappoints in Arizona, Calixte’s outfield experience doesn’t excite them, and Jimmy Rollins looks older than anyone even expected. Maybe one or two of them get hurt.
That’s ... actually not implausible. So Beckham has a shot, I guess. It’s a long shot, and there are several permutations that make more sense, but what if there’s an injury? What if some of the longshots look overmatched against pitchers who wouldn’t even make an 80-man roster? There’s another infielder on the pile.
Welcome back, Gordon Beckham. Let’s try for five days this time.