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Braves sign Adeiny Hechavarria to major-league deal

The veteran infielder, recently released by the Mets, joins a serious contender in August for the second straight season.

MLB: New York Mets at San Francisco Giants Photo by Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves have signed veteran infielder Adeiny Hechavarria to a major-league deal, as MLB.com’s Mark Bowman first reported on Friday afternoon and the club quickly confirmed:

Hechavarria was officially released by the Mets on Wednesday after being designated for assignment last week as the corresponding move for the team’s addition of second baseman Joe Panik, who they signed after he was DFA’d by the Giants. He’ll now join the Mets’ NL East rivals, and he’ll get a chance to contribute at least in a bit role for a team that appears likely to win the division and will try to end the Dodgers’ two-year streak of winning the NL pennant.

The 30-year-old Hechavarria, a shortstop by trade, has had about a typical offensive season by his standards this year (.204/.252/.359 with five homers in 151 plate appearances), though it’s worth noting that he’s less valuable than he was earlier in his career for a couple of reasons: First of all, he’s not playing as much shortstop anymore — he’s played just 15 games at short with the Mets this year, compared to 26 games at second base and eight at third. Secondly, infield defense just isn’t as important as it used to be, since balls are being put in play at a historically low rate, the shift has reduced the ground that infielders are responsible for covering, and there’s simply a greater premium on offense than defense in this feast or famine style of play.

For the moment, it appears likely that Hechavarria will step into the Braves’ starting shortstop role, though utility man Charlie Culberson will probably still get some starts at the position. Atlanta, of course, is currently without the services of starter Dansby Swanson, who has been on the injured list since July 27 with a right foot contusion.

Hechavarria takes the roster spot of Johan Camacho, who has had a disappointing season in a utility role after having a strong 2018 campaign as the team’s everyday third baseman. Camargo, who has started just 44 games in the field this season, had a .222/.268/.344 slash line and a -1.2 bWAR in 236 plate appearances. He had been getting the majority of the playing time at shortstop since Swanson went down but hadn’t warmed up too much even with consistent playing time.

Outfielder Adam Duvall, who got off to a scorching start after being recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett in late July but had cooled off substantially as of late, was also optioned as the team recalled right-hander Bryse Wilson on Friday.