Derek Jeter can’t play shortstop forever. The Yankees are preparing for that eventuality and have targeted Cuban shortstop Adeinis Hechavarria as a potential replacement, the New York Post Reports.
But before any MLB club can sign the 21-year-old prospect, the Office of Foreign Assets Committee must approve his paperwork. The OFAC has to verify Hechavarria’s age, identity and residency, which could happen as soon as this week.
"There has been a lot of interest," agent Bart Hernandez told the New York Post, without disclosing any teams. "He is a legitimate player with a chance to be a real good one."
Hechavarria has been compared to Red Sox shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias but with a stronger bat. Boston signed its shortstop protege for $8 million, and Hechavarria could command that much in signing bonus alone.
"The Yankees have been on [Hechavarria] for a while," a scout, who witnessed a recent workout in the Dominican Republic, told the Post. “Two weeks ago, about 50 scouts watched him work out, and the Yankees were there. They also have seen him in smaller workouts."
According to the Post, Hechavarria played short for the Cuban Junior National team two years ago and defected in Mexico last year. The Yankees are hoping to close on the deal for a new shortstop, but other scouts speculate Hechavarria could be a center fielder.
"He is a very good athlete and runs real well," a scout said in the Post. "I don't see him as a shortstop, I think he has a chance to be a center fielder in the mold of B.J. Upton. His throwing actions at short are kind of long."
Jeter is expected a sign a new multiyear deal after his contact expires at the end of the 2010 campaign, so it will probably be at least a few seasons before anyone else is playing short in the Bronx.