On Thursday morning, the White Sox activated Gordon Beckham from the disabled list following a bout with an oblique strain. Manager Robin Ventura assured Beckham that he would resume his role as the club’s starting second baseman, but the White Sox have a bit of a playing time problem on their hands.
Marcus Semien filled in admirably for Beckham. While he wasn’t a world-beater with the bat, he had some timely hits — including a go-ahead grand slam against the Tigers on Wednesday — and played plus defense. The White Sox also have used Leury Garcia a few times at second base and he posted a .708 OPS in the opportunities he was given.
With Beckham earning $4.175 million this season with one more year of arbitration eligibility left, Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago writes that the club could explore a trade.
The White Sox are flush with second-base prospects, with Semien merely being at the head of that pack. Leury Garcia has the ability to play there, as does Carlos Sanchez at Triple-A and Micah Johnson, who is proving to be one of the top prospects in the entire organization with his production, at Double-A.
Beckham has one more year of arbitration eligibility, but the White Sox are obviously in position to go a different route. If Beckham is productive over the next three months, he would become a valuable trade asset by the July 31 deadline for non-waiver deals.
Beckham, 27, was hyped as a prospect going into the 2009 season. But in nearly 2,500 career plate appearances in the big leagues, he has posted a meager .693 OPS. He is entering his sixth season and has posted a sub-.700 OPS in each of the last four seasons.
The Reds acquired utilityman Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations, J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group reports.
This is the second time that the Dodgers have traded Sweeney. The club sent him to the Phillies along with John Richy in August 2015 for Chase Utley. The Phillies sent him back to the Dodgers this past offseason with Darin Ruf in exchange for Howie Kendrick.
Sweeney, 26, made his major league debut in 2015 with the Phillies, hitting a meager .176/.286/.353 in 98 plate appearances. With Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, he hit .227/.290/.412 in 131 PA. While Sweeney’s bat hasn’t proven to be anything special, he has played second base, third base, shortstop, and all three outfield positions, so his flexibility will make him useful at some point.
Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.
“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”
The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.
Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.