Rays send message by acquiring Hechavarria

by Gary Shelton on June 27, 2017 · 0 comments

in general

Duffy has missed the entire season with an injury./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Duffy has missed the entire season with an injury./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Tuesday, 3 a.m.

The best things about him are not the answers he is capable of making for the Tampa Bay Rays defense.

The best things about him are not the questions his acquisition will force to be addressed.

The best thing isn't that he's a pretty good fielder.

For the Tampa Bay Rays, the best thing about the trade for shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria is the statement that it made.

On Monday, the Rays sent two minor leaguers to the Miami Marlins for Hechavarria, a two-time Golden Glove finalist. Hechavarria, out since early May with an oblique strain, is expected to take over the position upon his return.

That makes this a rare Rays trade that is not about the future but the present. It harkens that the Rays are indeed into this trade, and they are attempting to fortify this roster however it can.

"We view Adeiny as one of the better defensive shortstops in the game, and that's something we find really exciting," said Chaim Bloom, senior vice

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What does the trade mean for Beckham?/JEFFREY S. KING

What does the trade mean for Beckham?/JEFFREY S. KING

president of baseball operations. "He's got the ability to play shortstop at a very high level, and I would imagine that's where we're going to see him most, especially in the early going."

True, there are questions.

Does the move mean that the Rays have given up on a quick return by Matt Duffy, who was projected to be the team's shortstop this year? Duffy had surgery on his heel last September, and last week, had a calcium deposit removed.

Does it mean that the team is dissatisfied with Tim Beckham, who has started 67 games. However, Beckham is fifth in the majors with nine errors. There is a possibility he could be moved to second base, where Brad Miller had a disappointing start to the season.

Does it mean that rookie Daniel Robertson will go to the minor leagues to work on his offense?

And, above all, does it mean that the Rays have a better chance at a wild-card slot than it did yesterday?

"Tim is having an outstanding year," Bloom said after being asked how Beckham will be used going forward. "And we know from Tim's past that he has the ability to play a lot of different positions. He's a real good baseball player. He's an athlete and he's going to continue to help us win.

"I don't expect this is something he would have chosen, but I also know that Tim's a gamer, and he wants to win. Above all, this is a guy who loves baseball and loves competing, and he's going to get a chance to continue doing that. We're confident he's going to help us win."

The Rays gave up two prospects, outfielder Braxton Lee and pitcher Ethan Clark. Neither were listed among their top 30 prospects.

If there is a sign to be taken from the move, it is that the Rays seem to be pushing to compete this year. At the halfway point in years past, the Rays were the team trading for minor league talent. Now, they're moving toward a player who can help soon. They're taking on salary. When has that happened?

It is a move that is unlike most of the trades by the Rays, who are normally patient to a fault. Beckham hasn't been bad at short; the Rays defense can obviously use an upgrade, however. Duffy will eventually return; what happens to him when he does?

However, this was a trade made with the standings in mind. If Hechavarria can tighten the defense and help with the offense (he was hitting .277 when hurt), then the Rays have helped themselves.

Good to see. Right?

 

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