Following the controversial decision to non-tender Charlie Culberson last week, we knew the Braves were going to add at least one more bench piece – preferably one that can play all positions on the infield. Mark Bowman of MLB.com mentioned that could mean bringing back Adeiny Hechavarria, who is a much more sound player defensively than Culberson. It doesn’t hurt that Hech showcased the best of his abilities with the bat in his short stint with Atlanta as well.
However, for his career, Hechavarria isn’t much of anything with a stick, and it doesn’t seem wise to expect him to replicate that type of success over a full season. There is a reason he has been on five different teams over the last two years. So Anthopoulos is rightfully evaluating his options, which included checking in on Howie Kendrick – one of the heroes in the Washington Nationals World Series run – before he re-signed.
Along with pursuing Donaldson/middle-of-the-lineup bat, the Braves are attempting to add a versatile veteran. They checked on Howie Kendrick, but Kendrick was already close to his agreement with the Nationals.
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) December 10, 2019
This news confirms the Braves didn’t move on from Charlie Culberson to save $1.8 million, which would have been extremely odd. They did it because they believe they can upgrade at a manageable price. Kendrick, who had an unbelievable year for the Nationals, signed a two-year deal worth $7 million. He might have been the best veteran utility man available, but believe it or not, there are still better options out there than Culberson for the final bench spot.
Our Harrison Coburn broke down some other potential candidates last week.