White Sox’ Beckham has competition at second base
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter May 8, 2014 11:01PM
Updated: May 9, 2014 12:17AM
Gordon Beckham’s power surge against the Cubs reminded us of what he seems capable of doing. Some, including Hall of Famer Frank Thomas, view him as “a five-tool player.’’
It’s well-documented that the 2008 first-round draft pick set the bar high as a rookie but has, for the most part, fallen short. While he is one of the best-fielding second basemen in the game who turns the double play as well as anybody, his overall offensive production has been just OK.
Should Beckham max out on that potential, he hopes it happens in Chicago. Sox management hopes it happens, too, but for the first time since Beckham, 27, has been with the Sox, they have options at second with Marcus Semien and fast-rising prospect Micah Johnson, who’s tearing it up at Class AA Birmingham. And Carlos Sanchez is hitting .282 at Class AAA Charlotte.
‘‘There is definitely a decision that needs to be made on me,’’ Beckham said before the Sox finished up their four-game Crosstown Showdown on Thursday against the Cubs at U.S. Cellular Field. “They have to decide whether they want me here or if they want to move on. I just have to go play the game, and it’s not something I’m concerned with.’’
Slowed by a frustrating hamate bone injury last season, then a left oblique strain during spring training that gave Semien the opportunity to play to good reviews as an every-day second baseman, Beckham returned April 24 and scuffled through his first 10 games, batting .167. He got well against the Cubs with a 4-for-5 game Tuesday at Wrigley Field that included a big home run and a 1-for-5 game with a three-run homer at the Cell on Wednesday.
Whether Beckham, Johnson — who leads the Southern League in average (.333) and hits (43) — or perhaps Sanchez is the long-range answer at second base, general manager Rick Hahn has enough depth to probably feel comfortable trading Beckham.
“It’s nothing I can really control,’’ Beckham said. “It’s good for the White Sox to have depth. That’s important. If you want to have a team that’s going to be good for a long time, you have to have depth.
“One thing I will say is that I love being here. I don’t want to leave; I have no desire to go or get traded. I love Chicago. I started here and would love to finish here, but I won’t know anything until I know something.
“I love playing for Jerry Reinsdorf as our owner, and I love having Robin [Ventura] as my manager. Those two things right there are as important as anything. I respect those guys so much that I want to succeed for them as much as I want to do that for myself.’’
Beckham hopes it’s not out of the question that he stays with the Sox long term.
“I have to play and make it as hard a decision for them as I can,’’ Beckham said. “Or as easy as I can make it, depending on how you look at it.’’