The Marlins need starting pitching this winter, and that means that some familiar faces may be wearing new uniforms next season as Miami is short of trade chips, and seemingly no one but Christian Yelich is 100% safe.
One of the first names that will inevitably pop up, alongside Marcell Ozuna, is Adeiny Hechavarria, Miami’s defensive wizard at shortstop.
Instead of building on a career-best 2015, Hechavarria regressed sharply towards his lifetime numbers at the plate this year, and it is an issue which has irked the Miami fanbase and (presumably) upper-management as well.
Therefore, it seems like it would be a good idea for the Marlins to use the Cuban shortstop in a trade package for a quality starting pitcher.
Not so fast.
Miami should not trade Adeiny Hechavarria unless they acquire another starting shortstop via trade or free agency, and there are at least three points behind this reasoning.
First of all, Miguel Rojas is not an everyday replacement for Hechavarria. Rojas’ final stat line for 2016 was hardly superior to Hechavarria’s, as his batting average was only eleven points higher and their on-base percentages were virtually identical.
Whatever small benefit at the plate the Marlins would get by going with Rojas full-time would be negated by how much they would suffer defensively, which cannot just be overlooked.
The second point is that Hechavarria’s defense has been astounding over the last few seasons, and that facet of his game has not declined below above-average overall. While suffering offensively this season, his DRS (defensive runs saved) rating was a -9 again, which was sixth in baseball among players at his position.
That is invaluable to a club that struggled to score runs this year at an alarming rate, not to mention his astonishing plays get spectators out of their seats in applause on a regular basis. Hechavarria is an asset to this team, let’s not forget that.
All that being said, though, the third point is that Hechavarria does not have much trade value. On his own, he might not garner more than two mid-level prospects, and as part of a package, maybe only a bench player or average bullpen arm at best.
Consequently, the Marlins may as well hang onto Hechavarria as he is the organization’s best option at shortstop at this moment in time.
However, if the Marlins strike a deal with free agent Ian Desmond or receive another big league shortstop via trade, they should cash in their chips and take any prospects they can get for Hechavarria.
Then, his time in Miami may be remembered more favorably.