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Tigers purchase Gordon Beckham’s contract, option Ronny Rodriguez to minors


Minnesota Twins v Seattle Mariners Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Gordon Beckham has made the Detroit Tigers’ Opening Day roster. The club purchased Beckham’s contract on Saturday and optioned infielder Ronny Rodriguez to Triple-A Toledo.

Beckham, 32, played in 22 games for the Seattle Mariners in 2018. He hit .182/.250/.205 in the majors, but put up a solid .858 OPS in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. A 10-year MLB veteran, Beckham has hit .239/.302/.366 (an 81 OPS+) in 3,542 plate appearances.

Though it probably won’t matter in the end, Beckham’s selection over Rodriguez is a bit frustrating. Given his age, Beckham is almost certainly not going to be around the next time the Tigers jump into contention. He has enjoyed a lengthy career, but has been a replacement level player over the past five years. Multiple statistical projection systems, including both Steamer and ZiPS, project Rodriguez to be a hair better than Beckham this year. Rodriguez, who hit .220/.256/.335 in 206 plate appearances for the Tigers last season, is entering his age-27 season.

Beckham’s selection solidifies the position side of the Tigers’ Opening Day roster. They will likely carry 12 hitters to open the season, with Beckham, Niko Goodrum, Mikie Mahtook, and John Hicks rounding out the bench. Veteran catcher Bobby Wilson, who was another potential addition, has not made the team. Catcher Cameron Rupp is still in major league camp.

To make room for Beckham on the 40-man roster, the Tigers moved Michael Fulmer to the 60-day injured list. Fulmer will miss the 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery, which he will undergo with Dr. Meister on Wednesday.