The Baltimore Orioles have made very few moves this offseason, but one major decision has been made by the organization. Manny Machado will switch to shortstop and Tim Beckham will move to third base. The move allows Machado to play his natural position of shortstop. Though Beckham can play second base, shortstop, and third base, he has played most of his career at shortstop. With only nine games of experience at third base, Beckham will have to adjust to his new spot in the field.

This move, however, will not impact Beckham ‘s spot in the batting order as he will still be the leadoff man in 2018. He was a great acquisition for the Orioles last season, and he quickly became an everyday starter in Baltimore as he flashed his potential. Beckham hit .306 in 50 games with the Orioles in 2017. His statistics may drop off this season if he plays a complete season, but his potential is probably the highest on the team, excluding Machado. He was drafted first overall in the 2008 MLB Draft, and he only showed glimpses of that potential for the first time in his career in 2017.

Machado will benefit from the move to shortstop and moving to his natural position will help improve an already solid Orioles defense. By playing shortstop, Machado will be involved in many more plays, as shortstops statistically have more defensive chances than third basemen. Additionally, Machado is a much defensive player than Beckham. Beckham finished second in the American League with 20 errors committed while Machado has committed less than 15 errors in 2016 and 2017.

The Orioles need Beckham’s offense in the lineup, but this move limits the number of costly mistakes he can make in the field over the course of a season. Also, this will allow Machado to play his favorite position. The Orioles may still want to sign Machado to a contract extension. Allowing him to play shortstop will help their case of re-signing him to a major contract extension. This decision to switch Machado and Beckham in the field will prove to be very important for the Orioles this season.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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