The Tampa Bay Rays have traded shortstop, Adeiny Hechavarria, to the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor league right-handed pitcher, Matt Seelinger.
Hechavarria was designated for assignment by the Rays on August 1st, following the trade deadline as they were unable to work out a trade. The Rays originally acquired Hechavarria last June — coincidentally making his Rays debut while they were in Pittsburgh — to sure up the infield defense, which Hechavarria did wonderfully. His defense has been praised as elite by coaches and players alike, with a level of glove work the younger short stops in the system emulated, as highlighted in a recent interview with Juan Toribio of The Athletic:
JT: What did you learn from Adeiny Hechavarria?
Adames: A lot. I really started admiring him during spring training. He would always sit and talk to me. He would tell me how to do things when we were fielding grounders. How he did things. How certain things have worked out for him in order for him to become one of the best infielders in baseball. I thank him a lot for all the advice he gave him and all of the things that he helped me get better at on defense. In the time he was here, he was like a mentor to me at shortstop. I’m going to miss him a lot because we would always joke around. I hope things go well for him, I know he’s going to find another team because he’s one of the top three defensive shortstops in the big leagues.
That same praise has carried itself through interviews with infielders in interviews throughout the Rays system.
It should be noted on the offensive side of things the Rays got exactly what they expect as well with Hechavarria hitting .257/.289/.376 with 10 HR over 518 plate appearances, sporting a 77 wRC+ during his year long stint with the Rays.
Seelinger turned 23 this past April, had been with the West Virginia Power, the Pirates Low-A affiliate team, with a 3.03 ERA (32.2-IP, 11-ER) and 52 strikeouts in 28 appearances this season. Over parts of two minor league seasons, he owns a 2.44 ERA (62.2-IP, 17-ER) and 12.78 strikeouts per nine.
Per the Rays press release, Seelinger has converted all seven of his save opportunities this season, giving him 11 saves in 12 opportunities for his career, and leads the South Atlantic League with 25 games finished, while his 14.33 strikeouts per nine innings ratio would rank second among the league’s relievers if he pitched enough innings to qualify.
Seelinger was the first Farmingdale State player drafted in school history.