The Brewers have an obvious need at third base. Right now the top options are Jonathan Villar and Elian Herrera. But it's possible, if not likely, that a Jean Segura trade slides Villar over to shortstop. And Herrera isn't much of an offensive threat nor a defensive wizard. So despite the presence of those two, at this time I firmly believe the Brewers starting third baseman on opening day is not currently with the organization.
In the past we covered some interesting third base options that could provide multi-layered value. David Freese is easily the best option in free agency which speaks to the paucity of options. He's the most expensive option too. But securing his services could give the Brewers a solid trade option at the deadline or during next offseason.
Despite his age Juan Uribe is still defensively gifted. At times he's been able to provide league average or slightly better offense. At the very least he would give the Brewers an above average defender at third base. That would help the Brewers pitchers top to bottom--possibly aiding the Brewers in trading Matt Garza in the future. At best--depending on both the market and likely his offensive production to that point--he himself could be a trade asset for the Brewers at the deadline.
Gordon Beckham is different from those two examples. It's incredibly unlikely Beckham provides much value offensively if he provides any at all. His first season at the major league level was in 2009. He hit 270/347/460, with 14 home runs, worth a 109 wRC+. In the following six seasons he hit 238/298/358 which equates to a 78 wRC+. At this point it would be foolish to hope he could return to the offensive promise he showed in his rookie season. Offensively Beckham offers nothing.
Defensively, however, Gordon Beckham is perfectly acceptable. He's spent the majority of his career at second base. But in addition to a handful of innings at shortstop, he's played over 1300 innings at third base--more than twice the innings Herrera and Villar have combined for. Overall at the position DRS and UZR rank him around average. Though this past season he got above average marks.
Most teams will view Beckham as a utility player. In truth that's what he's best suited for. However as the Brewers are rebuilding they can afford to give majority playing time to him. Because of that Milwaukee must appear to the player and his agent as a prime destination. Regardless of where he signs he's going to come cheap. Last year Beckham signed for just $2 million and I find it hard to believe he'll be able to beat that by much if at all. But with the Brewers he gets an opportunity to try to perform to his utmost with the hopes of securing a better contract next year.
Unlike some of the other options out there Gordon Beckham's value is very limited. He's probably not going to build enough by the trade deadline to become an asset that could net a prospect in return. However he might provide enough on defense to make his paltry salary a worthwhile expenditure. Defense still matters even if wins don't. And the best case scenario here doesn't directly involve Beckham. If his defense at third base can help the Brewers move Matt Garza then it's worth it. And at the very least having a competent defender at the hot corner should help the younger pitchers who are still developing. Still, all things considered Beckham should just be considered as a last resort.
Statistics and contract information courtesy of FanGraphs