Veteran infielder Adeiny Hechavarria has filled in nicely all over the infield for the New York Mets this year.
We began the 2019 MLB season believing if Robinson Cano went on the IL the New York Mets would use Jeff McNeil at second base. But what happens when both go on the IL at the same time? That’s when “Commissioner Brodie Van Gordon” sends out the “Hechavarria Signal” into the sky to call upon his low-key free agent signing from this past winter.
Adeiny Hechavarria, the man who responds to this call, is no superhero. He has, however, come through for the Mets in big ways. Capable of all over the infield, he has been deployed as the backup shortstop and occasional second baseman this season. When the team lost Cano and McNeil at the same time, it was Hechavarria time in New York.
In another season or perhaps on another team, what Hechavarria has done would get much more attention. Sure, we’ve paid attention to his unexpectedly high home run rate per at-bat. With 4 dingers in his first 81 trips to the plate, he’d be on pace to hit around his career total. Realistically, we know this isn’t possible and can simply thank him for the brief time he did spend in the starting lineup.
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Cano’s return to an everyday spot at second base means we’ll see less of Hechavarria in the first inning. He should still get a few starts to give Cano or Amed Rosario a day off—most recently doing the latter this past Sunday against the St. Louis Cardinals. Aside from this, he’s probably going to spend much of his remaining season on the bench if everyone else stays healthy.
I won’t pretend Hechavarria has done anything more than provide the Mets with a livable wage at second base. Even if he outslugged Cano during his opportunities, we’ve seen plenty of big league players put up big numbers in a small stretch. We can’t forget what Hechavarria truly is: a .250 hitter at best incapable of reaching base at a .300 clip.
In fact, other than the slugging percentage, Hechavarria has been below his career averages. This is what he is at this point in his career. The veteran infielder is a nice temporary solution.
None of this takes away from how vital he was to the Mets for a short stretch. Last year, we saw the importance of having major league quality depth at a position. When the Mets lost both of their catchers early, we suffered through weeks of an ill-prepared Tomas Nido and aged Jose Lobaton.
Fortunately, the same thing didn’t happen and will not as long as Hechavarria sticks around.
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Providing the Mets with even replacement level play is all we ask. There’s also no complaining when he goes beyond and comes up with a clutch hit.