Of all the concerns that the Tampa Bay Rays would have on their roster, shortstop would seemingly be further down the list. Nonetheless, the Rays are rumored to be interested in Miami Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria.
The Tampa Bay Rays are an interesting team as the trade deadline approaches. While they have a few holes in their roster, getting players like Wilson Ramos and Brad Boxberger back should help solidify those areas of need. As such, heading into July, there may not be many places that the Rays look to upgrade.
Even though the Rays roster appears to be set, that does not mean that they will not be looking for upgrades. They have already come up in trade rumors, albeit as a seller. Yet, as legitimate postseason contenders, it does not make sense to get rid of those players. Yesterday, they found themselves in the rumor mill once again, this time as one of the teams interested in Miami Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria.
Hechavarria has appeared in only 20 games this season, landing on the disabled list with a strained oblique. Prior to that injury, he had struggled with the bat, posting a .277/.288/.385 batting line with only one walk in 67 plate appearances. Yet, this is actually an improvement over his lifetime .255/.291/.337 batting line.
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Defensively, Hechavarria is at least useful. He has saved 18 runs over the past three seasons, and has rated as an above average defensive player. Obviously, if the Rays are going to pursue the Marlins shortstop, it would be for his defensive capabilities.
Nonetheless, this seems like an odd move for the Rays, at least on the surface. Former first overall pick Tim Beckham has actually proven to be useful this season, posting a .283/.326/.445 batting line with ten homers. There are reasons for concern however, as Beckham has struck out 84 times with only 14 walks in 265 plate appearances. That excellent performance with the bat could come to an end soon as those strikeouts continue to add up.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay expected to get more depth at the position. Matt Duffy had been increasing his workouts, but was shut down after only three games in Charlotte. Add in the injury to Brad Miller, who will likely be out beyond the All Star Break, and the Rays could use more infield depth. Taylor Featherston has been a nice story, but he does not seem likely to be an answer.
The plan may well be to put Hechavarria at short and to move Beckham to second, allowing Featherston to return to a reserve role until either Duffy and/or Miller return. Should the Rays acquire Hechavarria, Beckham would be able to return to that super utility role he was expected to have, or Miller could take that role on once he returns.
The Tampa Bay Rays are interested in Adeiny Hechavarria. Although he would not appear to be a need, he could actually fill a need for the Rays.