CHICAGO – Gordon Beckham struggles as the scouts gather to watch him play, and it would be shortsighted not to think that the latter is having a major influence on the former.
The Chicago White Sox infielder knows a trade is likely coming. He is well aware of his situation as a solid major league mainstay who is only getting more expensive as a bevy of young second-base prospects are refining their talents right behind him.
He doesn’t want to go, but also knows that a deal will possibly land him with a contender, so that isn’t all bad. Ultimately it seems as if the uncertainty of it all is bothering the 27-year-old the most.
To Beckham’s credit, though, he isn’t blaming the unknown for his struggles. He doesn’t want to make excuses. He won’t make excuses.
“There is always a chance of [a trade],” Beckham said Monday before the White Sox opened a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals. “It’s there, but that’s about it. You just have to let it happen the way it’s going to happen. It’s not one of those things I’m going to worry about. If it’s here or somewhere else, that’s what’s supposed to happen.”
As the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline gets closer, the struggles only seem to mount. Beckham is batting just .083 (4-for-48) over his past 12 games. Over his past 31 he is batting .136 (16-for-117). He is no longer hitting the ball hard up the middle as he was early in the season, and the scouts have taken notice.
One major league scout noted Monday that Beckham is the perfect example of a player who just needs a fresh start with a new organization.
Beckham knows what is happening, and he is trying to block it out, but it has been difficult.
“A lot goes into it,” Beckham said about being a successful baseball player. “You come in, show up every day, you work hard, you want it to work out for you and your team. Baseball is a very unforgiving game. When you’re going well, all of a sudden it tends to not go well. It’s a tough game. But there is a lot more that goes into it than the box score.”
That seems to be Beckham’s way of saying that baseball players are human and they have distractions too. But he doesn’t say it and he won’t make that excuse, even if it is a legitimate one.
“You just have to go play the game and it’ll turn. ... It’ll turn,” he said, trailing off.
The Toronto Blue Jays were the team that was rumored to have the most interest in Beckham and have had a scout on hand for each of the four games of Chicago's current homestand.
If Beckham is dealt, the White Sox could immediately plug Marcus Semien into his spot. Eventually, though, it seems clear that Micah Johnson will be the second baseman of the future. The White Sox also have Carlos Sanchez and Leury Garcia, who can play second.
But right now Beckham is their man, and manager Robin Ventura is trying to get the most out of him.
“He really is focusing more on going the other way, which would help him a bit,” Ventura said. “But when you press, it’s harder to buy all in to be able to do that. You have to take baby steps, maybe give a little ground on power and things like that to get it over there.”
The answer likely lies with the calendar changing to August. Then Beckham will finally know his fate.
“I haven’t really talked to him about it but I’m sure some of that is probably there,” he said. “You hear about it enough and any kind of distraction can be it. Hopefully it’s not.”
Beckham is simply trying to keep his head up and plug along the best he can. The White Sox are the only organization he has ever known and that might all change before the next 10 days come to a close.
“Yeah, I’m not worried about that,” Beckham insisted, before quickly changing gears. “It will be tough to leave because I have always been here, but whatever happens, will happen and I’m prepared for anything.”