Orioles non-tender Beckham and Joseph

The Orioles have decided to non-tender infielder Tim Beckham and catcher Caleb Joseph, releasing them into the free agent market and clearing two spots on the 40-man roster.

Every other player on the 40-man roster was tendered a contract, including pitchers Dylan Bundy and Mychal Givens and infielder Jonathan Villar, who are eligible for arbitration. The Orioles will try to avoid hearings with the trio.

Beckham didn’t heat up at the plate until September, when he batted .297/.348/.484 with three doubles and three home runs in 69 plate appearances. He finished with a .230/.287/.374 slash line with 17 doubles, 12 home runs and 35 RBIs in 96 games.

A difficult season included core muscle surgery and an unsuccessful shift to third base, where he committed seven errors in 40 games. He also made 12 errors in 49 games (46 starts) at shortstop and didn’t have a guaranteed position as he entered another year of arbitration eligibility.

MLBTradeRumors.com projected that Beckham would make $4.3 million next season, a steep price given the circumstances and return.

Former Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette traded for Beckham at the 2017 non-waiver deadline, sending minor league pitcher Tobias Myers to the Rays, who selected him with the first overall pick in the 2008 draft. Myers went 10-6 with a 3.71 ERA and 1.412 WHIP this year in 23 games (21 starts) at Single-A Bowling Green.

joseph-catching-white-sidebar.jpgJoseph made $1.25 million this year while batting .219/.254/.321 in 82 games and spending part of his summer at Triple-A Norfolk. His work behind the plate improved upon his return and the club is lacking a proven commodity who could replace him. However, the Orioles weren’t willing to risk paying Joseph the $1.7 million projected by MLBTradeRumors.com.

I’ve heard that the club made multiple offers to Joseph before reaching the deadline, but weren’t able to come to an agreement. He’s been in the organization since chosen in the seventh round of the 2008 draft and debuting in the majors six years later.

The Orioles can resume negotiations with Joseph and Beckham. The deadline doesn’t prohibit it.

The 40-man roster currently includes catchers Austin Wynns, Chance Sisco and Andrew Susac. The Orioles didn’t protect Martin Cervenka leading into the Rule 5 draft.

Villar is projected to earn $4.4 million next season. The Orioles will figure out later whether he’s their shortstop or second baseman.

Bundy is projected to receive $3 million and Givens $2 million. Time will reveal where Bundy is slotted in the rotation and Givens in the bullpen, where he could inherit the closer role.

Meanwhile, the Brewers non-tendered former Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop, making him a free agent.

Schoop was projected to make $10.1 million next season.

The Orioles no longer had to make arbitration decisions on Schoop and pitcher Kevin Gausman after trading them to the Brewers and Braves, respectively. They re-signed infielder Jace Peterson to a minor league deal.

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