Tim Beckham has been the answer the Orioles have been looking for: he has a batting average of .485 since coming to the Orioles, along with a .507 OBP, .879 SLG, and a 1.386 OPS. These numbers are really helping the Orioles even though they are still only hovering right around a .500 win percentage since he has arrived.
The production he is giving them is really helping with the fact that you have a struggling Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo. He is giving the Orioles the speed at the top of the order they have been lacking even though he hasn’t stolen a base since he’s been on the team. He can score from first on a double and go from first to third on a base hit He can spray the ball all over the field and he has come into some power, hitting five home runs in his 16 games with the Orioles. He had only hit 12 in his 87 games with the Rays earlier this year.
Manager Buck Showalter has said when Hardy returns, he will regain his starting position at shortstop. Hardy is still looking some way off a return, as he is looking to be back in September. If Beckham’s numbers dip, even into the .300’s for his BA, it would be a difficult sell to fans to replace him with Hardy, who, before going on the DL, was only sporting a .211 BA and a .556 OPS. Hardy also seemed to have lost a step in the field early in the season with letting balls get by him that he used to get to routinely. Buck has always been known as a “player’s manager,” but to be in the middle of a Wild Card race, having a guy playing as well as Beckham is, it would send the wrong message to players and fans alike.
Buck is beloved in Baltimore, but making a move like this could turn a fan base against him. Beckham was acquired as a player for the future with Hardy having a club option that would be for $14 million or a $2 million buy out. While Hardy is a fan favourite, fans also want to win, and with Beckham playing so well, it could really rub fans the wrong way. I’m sure Hardy will get his swan song in Baltimore at the end of the season, but the future is here now at short and it should stay that way.
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