Pittsburgh Pirates’ general manager Neal Huntington was busy late on Friday night
Prior to the waiver trade deadline, which was at midnight on Friday, the Pittsburgh Pirates swung a pair of trades. In these trades the Pirates sent1B/3B David Freese to the Los Angeles Dodgers and INF Adeiny Hechavarria to the New York Yankees.
In exchange for Freese the Pirates acquired minor league infielder Jesus Manuel Valdez, while they will receive a player to be named later for Hechavarria.
Freese was in his third season as a Pirate after signing with the team during Spring Training 2016. Freese was having his best season since he was an All-Star in 2012 owning a .282/.336/.444/.780 slash line, .335 wOBA, and a 110 wRC+ in 265 plate appearances.
In his final game as a Pirate, Freese went 1-for-4 with an RBI in Friday night’s 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
As for Hechavarrria, the Pirates acquired him from the Tampa Bay Rays for minor leaguer Matt Seelinger on August 6th. In 47 plate appearances with the Pirates Hechavarria slashed just .233/.277/.395/.672 with a .278 wOBA and a wRC+ of 72. Hechavarria is set to hit free agency this offseason.
Freese owns a team option for 2019 and with how strong of a season he has had, combined with the struggles of Colin Moran, it was not out of the question to think the Pirates would pick up his option. However, by trading Freese the Pirates save at least $1.2M when you combine the money he is still owed this season with the $500,000 buyout he had if the team did not pick up his option.
With Freese and Hechavarria gone, this should present an opportunity for the Pirates to play younger players in September. The Bucs enter September with a 66-69 record and they are not going to make the postseason. This makes the season’s final month more about playing for 2019 than anything else. With players such as Freese and Hechavarria gone it should open the door for young hitters such as Moran and Kevin Newman to get more at-bats. That is, as long as Clint Hurdle is willing to play Newman over another free agent to be – Jordy Mercer – and, sadly, there is zero reason to believe that Hurdle will do that.