Pirates deal David Freese to Dodgers, Adeiny Hechavarria to Yankees
The Pittsburgh Pirates shed salary at the waiver trading deadline Friday night when they sent infielder David Freese and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria to contending teams.
Freese, 35, joins the Los Angeles Dodgers in a deal that brings 20-year-old infielder Jesus Manuel Valdez to the Pirates. Hechavarria, 29, who was the Pirates’ best defensive infielder, goes to the New York Yankees with cash for either cash or a player to be named.
The moves signify the Pirates’ plans to restock their infield with young players Kevin Newman and Kevin Kramer.
Freese, who was due $6 million next season in the final year of his contract, has been a valuable player off the bench for the Pirates since 2015. He is hitting .283 this season with nine homers and 41 RBIs in 93 games (237 at-bats). His batting average is fourth and home run total fifth on the team, but the Pirates have decided Colin Moran and Double-A third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, who is hitting . 284 in Altoona, are their third basemen of the future.
Freese hadn’t played since Aug. 24 until he started at third base and batted cleanup and drove in a run Friday night in the Pirates’ 3-2 victory against the Atlanta Braves.
In his three years with the Pirates, Freese hit .270 with 32 home runs and 148 RBIs.
“We made the difficult decision to trade David to give him an opportunity to pursue a World Series championship this season,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said in a statement. “We truly appreciate all that David has contributed to the Pirates these three seasons and wish him well. This move will free up valuable playing time for some of our younger players, while clearing some salary.
“We are also pleased to add a player with interesting power, athleticism and defensive versatility to our system in Valdez.”
Valdez hit .230 (47-for-204) with 11 doubles, four triples, six home runs, 27 RBI and 16 stolen bases in 60 games this season with the Dominican Summer League Dodgers.
Hechavarria’s stay with the Pirates was short after he was acquired Aug. 6 from the Tampa Bay Rays. His trade to the Yankees indicates the Pirates only acquired him for roster depth while Mercer was on the disabled list. Mercer was reinstated Wednesday.