Gordon Beckham returns from brief benching with hot bat

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When the White Sox benched Gordon Beckham in favor of light-hitting utility man Brent Lillibridge earlier this month I wrote: “It’ll be a surprise if it lasts until the end of the week.”
Sure enough the benching lasted for all of three games, but manager Ozzie Guillen apparently pulled the right string because Beckham has been on fire since returning to the lineup. He homered last night and is now 24-for-63 (.381) with three homers and eight doubles in 18 games since the brief stint on the sidelines.
His overall numbers are still ugly, with a 29-point drop in batting average, 52-point drop in on-base percentage, and 107-point drop in slugging percentage compared to his impressive rookie season, but Beckham has raised his OPS from .553 to .648 in three weeks and still has plenty of time to finish with respectable sophomore totals.

Report: Yankees, Reds finalizing trade for Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray
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Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.

According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.

Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.