The Rationale Behind Sending Tim Beckham To Minors

The 2015 Tampa Bay Rays will never be confused as an offensive powerhouse. They rank in the bottom half of the American League in batting average (.245), on-base percentage (313), slugging percentage (.393), and home runs (40).

During Friday’s game Tim Beckham  delivered a triple and blasted his fifth home run. On the season he ranks tied for second on the team in home runs (five) and is fifth in runs driven in with 16. So, it came as a bit of a surprise after Friday evenings 5-2 win over the Oakland Athletics that the Rays announced that he was being sent to the teams Triple-A affiliate Durham Bulls and lefty Enny Romero was being recalled.

The decision to send Beckham to the Bulls was simply due to the fact that he has an option remaining and that the bullpen has been taxed this season in the past two games.

“It was difficult there’s not doubt about it. I  think their all tough, this one was deserving to kind of shake everybody up because of what Beckham has provided the type of player he’s been and probably most importantly the type of teammate he’s been – everybody loves him.” Rays Manager Kevin Cash said. “We’re hopeful that he’ll be back soon but I think we had to make the move simply because we have to do what’s best for the team and innings are what’s important right now – our bullpen is a little gassed and have been worked very hard and it made the most sense.”

On Thursday night the bullpen was asked to get the final 12 outs and on Friday night they were tasked with recording the final 11 outs.  Heading into Saturday’s game the Rays bullpen leads the American League in innings pitched with 146.2. To say they need a respite is an understatement.

Enny Romero will be utilized in the pen to provide length. After being injured in spring training he has progressed through five starts. Two of his starts were made with the Rays High-A affiliate Charlotte Stone Crabs and the remaining three starts were with the Durham Bulls.

In his first start with the Bulls he delivered 73 pitches, in his second 72, and his most recent start on May 19th was on short rest and he was held to just 53 pitches.  Overall, with the Bulls he has a 1-0 record with a 2.70 ERA (4ER/13.1IP) with 11 strikeouts and four walks.

“I haven’t even seen him yet. We’re excited. I  really didn’t get a good chance to see him in spring training but our guys know him.”Cash said. “He’s been throwing the ball well coming back from his rehab. He’s been lengthened out so he can provide some innings that 70-90 pitch count which is what we really need with the way our bullpen’s been used.”

Kevin Cash doesn’t seem concerned with having just a three man bench, “Not really, I see how it can but we try to be so cautious with our pitchers. If we get caught short handed in a game by our bench that’s fine- I’d much rather have that happen than injure a pitcher.”

When asked if the pitchers are quick to volunteer to play if the team has a situation late in a game such as pinch running Cash rolled his eyes and while chuckling said, “Yeah, they think they can do everything.”

He also is not sure for how long the Rays will carry the extra reliever. “Right now the priority is kind of protecting some of those guys. If we have a couple stretches where the bullpen takes a little bit of a blow and I’m not saying their just going to have three days off – but if we can afford to do that we’d like to have that extra bench player but for right now they’re gassed a little bit we have to smart about it.”

Romero last appeared in a game for the Rays in 2013 when he returned from the Dominican Republic to make an emergency start against the Baltimore Orioles. In that start he went 4.2 innings allowing one hit walking four and striking out none in a Rays 3-1 victory.

When the time comes for Romero to return to the Bulls the most logical player to return to the Rays will be super utility Jake Elmore who is currently batting .326/.453/.360 with the Bulls.

I am a fan of all sports but am most passionate about baseball. From the fanatical to analytical, nothing about the game escapes me. Being born and raised in Northeast Ohio I'm very familiar with the heartache and pain that sports can bring and hope that I bring some understanding of the other side to my coverage. I will focus mostly on baseball but also cover the Tampa Bay Lightning, one of the most electric franchises in all of sports. Always willing to converse about any sport and have only one rule and that is be respectful at all times.