PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Sixty-five lockers line the walls inside the Mets’ First Data Field clubhouse, and now every one of them has a tenant.
Adeiny Hechavarria’s minor-league contract, with an invitation to big-league camp, became official Monday after he passed his physical. He was assigned what had been the only empty cubby, in between Robinson Cano and Jed Lowrie, a space that previously was left vacant out of deference to those veteran infielders, who earned the extra room because of their major-league service time.
The Mets hope Hechavarria, a 29-year-old infielder who has mostly played shortstop, can fill a hole on the field, too. There are an unspecified number of bench spots up for grabs — it depends on whether first baseman Peter Alonso makes the team and whether the Mets prefer a four- or five-man bench — and Hechavarria has a shot at winning one of them.
A defensive whiz and below-average hitter, Hechavarria would be a significant upgrade as a backup shortstop over Lowrie, a second and third baseman who the Mets have said can play short when Amed Rosario doesn’t.
Luis Guillorme, also a shortstop who can play other positions, fits into about the same spot on the depth chart as Hechavarria, who can opt out of his contract at the end of spring training if he’s not in the majors.
Either way, Hechavarria is another depth piece at the end of an offseason in which depth was a focus for general manager Brodie Van Wagenen.
“We’re going to be able to withstand some unfortunate circumstances if those arise,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “We’re going to continue to add depth where we see fit. Brodie’s done a great job of adding in those places.”
Notes & quotes: Noah Syndergaard said there is “no traction” on contract extension negotiations between him and the Mets, though he is open to the idea. Last week, the Yankees (Luis Severino, $40 million) and Phillies (Aaron Nola, $45 million) signed front-line starters years away from free agency to four-year deals . . . Knicks general manager Scott Perry attended the Mets’ workout at the invitation of Omar Minaya.