The Braves intended to address their depth before spring training, and they did so Thursday night in re-signing one of 2019’s pleasant surprises.
Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria returned to the Braves on a one-year, $1 million deal, the team announced. Hechavarria, a 30-year-old defensive specialist, split time with the Mets and Braves last season but proved an important piece in the latter’s run to the postseason.
Hechavarria, cut loose by the Mets, hit .328 with four homers in 24 games with the Braves after joining the team Aug. 16. Shortstop Dansby Swanson was sidelined by a heel injury, while replacement Johan Camargo was underwhelming, prompting the Braves to sign the steady-handed Hechavarria.
They received far more offense than expected, with Hechavarria producing above his career norms. He hit only .204 with five homers in 60 games for the Mets. His OPS jumped from .611 in New York to 1.039 in Atlanta.
The Braves added versatile infield depth at a minimal cost in retaining Hechavarria. The franchise had targeted infield defense in its search for further depth. Hechavarria can play every position in the infield. Third baseman Josh Donaldson departed for Minnesota in free agency, leaving utilityman Johan Camargo the probable starter at third (as it stands today) – at the expense of the team’s depth.
Hechavarria, now an eight-year veteran, was signed as an international free agent by the Blue Jays in 2010. Current Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos, then running the Blue Jays, traded Hechavarria in 2012 as part of the massive deal with the Marlins that brought Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson to Toronto.
The Braves’ 40-man roster stands at 39 after adding Hechavarria.
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