Ask Gary: Why did Rays give away Beckham?

by Gary Shelton on August 5, 2017 · 4 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs, Tampa Bay Rays

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Saturday, 4 a.m.

The Rays did a great job of improving the team in the weeks before the trade deadline so it’s seemed odd that they would be sellers on the last day and trade Tim Beckham for a low level prospect to the Orioles who could really use someone with his skill set and potentially help improve a team in their own division. Which of the following possible reasons for the trade is the most valid in your opinion?

1. They wanted Brad Miller to play everyday even though Beckham was having a much better year?

2. They expect Matt Duffy to return sometime in this decade?

3. Beckham wasn’t always willing to do what the team asked and had a terrible attitude?

4. All of the above.

Larry Beller

The Rays pretty much gave Tim Beckham away. It made no sense to me. If you're talking about tonight's game, I'd still rather see Beckham in the lineup than Miller.

From what I understand, the Rays didn't want to keep splitting time with Miller and Beckham. Miller had the great year last year, and they wanted to give him a chance to pull out of this funk. You couldn't do that with him playing three times a week.

I'm told that Beckham's attitude was very good (and I asked). He was a little thin-skinned before this year, but this year, I'm told he was a good soldier.

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I can't believe Matt Duffy was part of the equation at all. I mean, did the guy have a head transplant? He's taken longer recovering from his surgery than Caitlyn Jenner.

It might have made more sense to me if the Rays had gotten a player back, a highly rated prospect or a relief pitcher. But this was basically moving a guy so you didn't have him. It may work out, if Miller can flash a little power and get his average up. But Beckham has had a decent year.

Miller hasn't. This move may yet work out. So far, I don't care for it.

What do you think the chances are of St. Pete getting an MLS team?  Last week, I read a national column that said we are the best site. Today, I read a local column with a different view.

Jim Willson

I think Tampa Bay will get a team, but  I don't know if it's in the next wave. There are a lot of places that are intriguing, and I'm not sure a third team in Florida can beat that.

On the other hand, I've gone to a lot of Rowdies' games. I think it's a hoot. The fans have a party. I really think it's cool. I've seen other soccer venues where fans sit on their hands and watch like it's a chess match. Not here.

I think if the MLS gets a load of that, and if it thinks a bigger stadium means a bigger crowd, it won't be long. But I've seen a lot of lists that have St. Petersburg down on their list of cities.

Still, this town has the site, and it has a pretty good ownership group. That can take a team a long way in an expansion hunt.

When are NFL teams going to stop charging full price for preseason games?

Scott Myers

When the banks stop cashing their checks?

It continues to confound me that owners can get away with charging for preseason games. It's like Bruce Springsteen charging for rehearsals. In a game where no one cares who wins, or how long anyone plays, they get full prices. Can you believe it? It's the biggest scam in sports.

Remember, players don't get a full game check during the preseason. So owners make their money in every direction: the ticket prices are absurd, they get TV money, and they don't have to pay the big salaries. No wonder owners want to keep the preseason at four games.

Now, I understand if you're a Packers fan or a Cowboys fan and tickets are hard to get. Then you pay a little premium (two extra games) so you can ensure your season tickets.

But in Tampa Bay? There is no danger of a sellout. So why on earth would a fan ever buy a season ticket until the preseason was over? Hell, I hate to WATCH preseason games in the third and fourth quarters. There are too many (future) insurance salesmen on the field.

The answer, Scott, is that if you think of it from an owner's viewpoint, why would you ever want to charge less than full price? I've said it before: An NFL owner can tell you how much money is in your wallet and what the serial numbers are on the bills.

Blake Snell continues to disappoint and still does not have a win all year. Meanwhile, Austin Pruitt completely outshined him this week in the Houston series. When Jake Odorizzi returns from the DL next week, would you send Snell back to the minors and keep Pruitt?

Larry Beller

The Rays beat all of us to the move. They sent Snell to the minor leagues on Friday.

It was the right move. There is no way that the Rays should dump Pruitt, considering the way he pitched against the Astros. Heck, even Chuck LaMar could make that call. Besides the victory, Pruitt had everything that Snell has been lacking: He attacked the zone, he had composure, men on base didn't bother him. And he shut down a darned good lineup because of it.

Snell was skittish, and it's almost as if he's waiting for something bad to happen. It's a shame. He has great stuff, and there are moments you think "maybe he finally gets it." Then the walks come, and the avalanche starts.

It has to be mental, because the stuff is there, and he's been so successful in the minors. But he doesn't seem to get it. I remember one game when he got shelled, he was asked what he thought of his effort. His answer?  "Interesting."

Obviously, I might have sent down Odorizzi if I could. He hasn't been good. But he doesn't have options left.

The only reason to keep Snell would have been if you feared out he would respond to another demotion. But I  talked to former Ray pitcher Doug Waechter about this Friday night before the Rays' game. He agreed there was a risk to sending Snell down, but he thought that you couldn't afford not to when you consider the stakes.

What is the deal with Doug Martin's contract?  Wasn't his deal voided by his suspension? I expected a more team friendly contract.

Jim Willson
Evidently, the part of the contract that was voided was his guarantee of this year's salary. The Bucs could still cut Martin until week three.

The Bucs have been secretive about Martin's contract. They dodged a few questions about it early, and it hasn't come up lately. But as I understand it, the Bucs have the right to cut Martin at any point of the season without owing him further.

It's a better deal that Martin would have gotten a lot of places. It isn't great business to pay a guy millions when he's one strike away from a serious drug suspension. Not only that, but three of his five seasons have been lackluster. That gives a team a heavy pause before paying him the big bucks.

Are you going to count on Martin? The pressures don't get any easier. You don't want to be the bad guy here, but you don't want to leave the franchise out on limb.

If Martin is indeed in the shape to be a star again, the Bucs will look smart for keeping him. But if he relapses, that's just bad business all around.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Beller August 5, 2017 at 5:37 pm

Thanks for looking into this for all of us. You are much closer to the Rays think tank and are able get valuable intel. Everything you said is true in my opinion but I just have this thought in the back of my mind that if Beckham had been drafted by another organization that they might have done a better job of developing him. Of course I could be completely off base too but the Rays have been pretty inept at developing position players over the years. On the other hand they are exceptional with pitchers. Then there is that guy named Evan Longoria who has managed to do pretty well in this organization. Ultimately it’s the player who has to put in the work and get the job done but it will be interesting to see if something clicks for Beckham in Baltimore.

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Gary Shelton August 5, 2017 at 7:25 pm

Ultimately, we’ll never know. A guy only goes through development once. It’s hard to deny that the Rays have been lacking over the years in their hitters’ development so, sure, he could have been better — or worse — with another team.

I do know that most of the drills are the same, and most of the games are the same. There is a reason a Kiermaier flourishes and another guy fails.

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Larry Beller August 5, 2017 at 5:39 am

So the Brad Miller line is the answer then for the dumping of Tim Beckham. I was hoping like a good mystery novel there would be more to the plot. I don’t like the trade either mainly because Miller is turning out to be a 1 year wonder and the Rays got so little back. In the series after the trade Beckham was 7 for 12 with a home run in 3 games. He also made a key error with the bases loaded that let in 2 runs. So there was good and bad with him but he seems to have a lot of unrealized talent. I guess we shouldn’t blame the Rays for Beckham’s lack of success after being an overall No 1 pick in the draft but it sure seems like he is the poster child for how not to develop a player.

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Gary Shelton August 5, 2017 at 3:12 pm

Larry, we all love a good conspiracy. And one may exist. I couldn’t find it, however. I asked if his attitude was better than we saw, and I was told it was fine. I do wonder about his contract, of course, even in a season where the Rays are adding payroll. But I’m assured this was all for Miller.

Will Miller be worth it? I’m not sure. His defense has been a bit better lately, but it isn’t the reason you play him.

I’d jump the Rays a lot quicker about some of the other draft picks that haven’t developed. A friend of mine in the press box is fond of saying that “Beckham didn’t pick himself No. 1.” Like most disappointments, it’s a shared blame. The team thought too highly of the player, and the player didn’t make himself invaluable.

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