In an unexpected roster move before their Friday night loss, the Mets called up veteran shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Triple-A Syracuse and optioned first baseman Dominic Smith. This move was ultimately triggered by an opt-out clause in Hechavarria’s contract which kicked in on May 1. He chose to exercise his opt-out, meaning that the Mets had two days to decide whether to put him on the 25-man roster or release him. The Mets clearly did not feel comfortable enough with their shortstop depth to let Hechavarria walk and so added him to the roster with Dominic Smith as the collateral damage of the move. To make space on the 40-man roster for Hechavarria, the Mets moved Drew Smith to the 60-day injured list. Smith is recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Although Hechavarria has played the overwhelming majority of his innings at shortstop, the Mets gave him some reps at both third base and second base at Syracuse, hoping that he can provide some positional flexibility that Dominic Smith lacks as a first base only player. However, it is worth noting that Smith was the Mets’ only left-handed bench bat and sending him down will make the Mets’ bench entirely right-handed. It’s an unfortunate set of circumstances for Smith, who had been rocking a 148 wRC+ over 37 plate appearances with the Mets, albeit with a likely unsustainable .435 BABIP. With Jed Lowrie’s return from the injured list imminent, however, Smith’s days on the major league roster were perhaps already close to numbered. Hechavarria is unlikely to give the Mets anything resembling that offensive production at the plate, but does provide strong defense in the infield. That said, Hechavarria was slashing a very solid .348/.382/.446 in Triple-A.
Hechavarria’s contract, signed back in February, guarantees him $3 million in base salary, which would be pro-rated, with $1 million dollar bonuses for 100 days and 150 days on the active roster. There are 150 days left in the 2019 season, including today, which would mean that Hechavarria would have to stay on the active roster the entire remainder of the season to earn the latter bonus.