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Rays thrilled to add Beeks' 'deep repertoire'

Neander, Tampa Bay had 'kept tabs' on prospect for years
MLB.com @wwchastain

ST. PETERSBURG -- General manager Erik Neander sounded excited about the return the Rays got by sending Nathan Eovaldi to the Red Sox in Wednesday's trade for left-hander Jalen Beeks.

"The return, Jalen Beeks, this is a pitcher we've kept close tabs on for a few years," Neander said.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- General manager Erik Neander sounded excited about the return the Rays got by sending Nathan Eovaldi to the Red Sox in Wednesday's trade for left-hander Jalen Beeks.

"The return, Jalen Beeks, this is a pitcher we've kept close tabs on for a few years," Neander said.

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Though Tampa Bay isn't sure where Beeks will begin his tenure in its organization, he could be joining the Major League squad soon.

"We're talking through it right now, but I think there's a decent enough chance that he joins us in Baltimore," said Neander, citing the city where the Rays begin a four-game series against the Orioles on Thursday.

Video: Eovaldi discusses being traded to the Red Sox

Beeks, 25, is 34-28 with a 3.63 ERA in parts of five Minor League seasons, including a 5-5 mark with a 3.29 ERA for Triple-A Pawtucket this season. He had two appearances for Boston this year, going 0-1 with a 12.79 ERA.

"He's had the two Major League experiences," Neander said. "Obviously, those didn't go very well, and those aren't our expectations moving forward. Somebody with a deep repertoire, he commands, he competes. He's a guy we think has a chance to be a Major League starter, and we'll see where things go."

Neander noted that Beeks "can really pitch," which accounts for his high strikeout numbers.

Video: Cash discusses losing Eovaldi, adding prospect Beeks

"He can ride the fastball, he can move it in and out," Neander said. "... There's glove-side command, there's arm-side command, and there's feel to elevate. He's got a cutter. He's got a curveball. He's got a changeup. There's a lot of mix. There's a lot of setting up. There's a lot of sequencing.

"I don't necessarily think right now he has a go-to strikeout pitch that he can lean on. I think a lot of those strikeouts in Triple-A have been more of a product of pitching and setting guys up."

Clearly, Neander wants to see what Beeks can do at the Major League level.

"With a guy like that, I think it's essential to give him an opportunity to get feedback at the Major League level, to better learn what sequences work, what sequences don't," Neander said. "Where the strike zone is, etc. And there's no real substitute for getting that opportunity."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Tampa Bay Rays, Jalen Beeks