Pirates acquire Adeiny Hechavarria from Rays

Tampa Bay receives Minor League RHP Seelinger

August 6th, 2018

DENVER -- The Pirates added depth and defense Monday when they acquired infielder and cash considerations from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for right-hander Matt Seelinger. Hechavarria was not with the club for the series opener in Colorado Monday, but he is expected to be in the clubhouse and ready to play Tuesday.
The Rays designated Hechavarria for assignment on Wednesday, removing him from the 40-man and 25-man rosters. They had seven days to trade, release or place him on irrevocable outright waivers.
"The defensive stability, athleticism," manager Clint Hurdle said of the top qualities that attracted the Pirates to Hechavarria. "We believe we're in a spot to add him to our club now and get him on both sides of the diamond a little bit more, not just an exclusive shortstop position, which he's played. A good addition all the way around. Bat handler. Gives us another good player to add. It also frees up a couple guys in our infield, knowing we've got really solid support behind them."
In addition to great reports from the scouts, Hurdle noted the important input of two of Hechevarria's teammates in Tampa Bay who are both Bucs now -- Corey Dickerson and Chris Archer.
"He's one of the top three gloves in the league at shortstop," Dickerson said. "I remember playing behind Tulo [Troy Tulowitzki] and Nolan [Arenado, both with the Rockies]. I felt like any ground ball hit, I didn't have to move. Nolan was always the best third baseman I've ever seen, and I had the best view in the league being right behind him. I got to be behind Hechavarria. He can get balls, do stuff defensively that other people can't. He's a really laid-back person, and we enjoyed him in the clubhouse."

Hechavarria, 29, is best known for his defense, and his .990 fielding percentage ranks fourth in the Majors among shortstops (min. 200 innings) and second in the American League behind Houston's (.992). He set a pair of franchise record for the Rays with a 94-game (319 total chances) errorless streak that ended June 30, the longest streak in Rays franchise history for a shortstop.
The infielder hit .258 with three homers and 26 RBIs in 61 games with Tampa Bay this season, and Hurdle sees a useful bat when Hechavarria is at the plate.
"He's making hard contact, moving the ball around," Hurdle said. "We've actually talked to people that know him, actually played with him, spent time on the dirt with him, in the clubhouse with him. There's an opportunity for us to add value in all those different areas with his addition."
Hechavarria had played sparingly since exiting in the seventh inning on July 21 with a sore oblique, making one start and entering as a defensive replacement three times.
"Hech hasn't played much third base, probably just taking ground balls in infield," Hurdle said regarding his new infielder's versatility. "He's played a little second. Basically, it's been shortstop, so we're going to ask him to move around a little bit."
The Rays moved on, in part, because they wanted to open up Major League reps for , the organization's top prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.
"Tough decision, obviously," Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said when Hechavarria was designated last week. "But I think [the move had to be made] in fairness to Hech, and what has taken place here. We talked about creating a little better lane for Willy when he got back up here."
Seelinger, 23, was a 28th-round selection by the Pirates -- the first player to ever be drafted out of Farmingdale State -- in the 2017 Draft. He's 1-3 with a 3.03 ERA and seven saves through 28 appearances with Class A West Virginia this season.
Coming home
Dickerson came up in the Rockies' organization, and played parts of three seasons in Colorado, hitting .299 with 39 homers and 124 RBIs in 265 games before a January 2016 trade sent him to Tampa Bay with Kevin Padio as and Jake McGee went to the Rockies.
"It feels like yesterday," Dickerson said of his time with the Rockies. "It feels like I never left. The same people work here, greeted me, all the same people. It's kind of weird. It's always nice to come back here. I loved my time here."