It is no secret that the Astros haven’t seen much in terms of on-field production from their bench this season. Aledmys Díaz and Niko Goodrum, two of Houston’s primary bench bats outside of the fourth outfielder, have produced only a 69 and 4 wRC+, respectively. Chas McCormick and José Siri alternate as the starting center fielder and fourth outfielder, but even they have been below-average at the plate to start the season. In addition, the injuries are beginning to pile up again, with Jose Altuve, Jeremy Peña, and Díaz all hobbling from one degree to another. The lack of production from the bench was about to become increasingly glaring for all to see.
It isn’t a surprise to see general manager James Click address this looming concern and bolster the bench in the event one — or multiple — regulars are out again for the immediate future. By acquiring Mauricio Dubón from the Giants in exchange for minor league catcher Michael Papierski, the Astros are improving their major league depth chart in the event of continued ineffectiveness and injuries.
The Astros have acquired IF/OF Mauricio Dubon from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for C Micheal Papierski.— Houston Astros (@astros) May 14, 2022
So, what does Dubón bring to the table? Versatility immediately comes to mind as the 27-year-old can play numerous positions on the infield, namely second base, shortstop, and third base. He can also cover some ground in centerfield if called upon. The Giants used Dubón in centerfield quite often last season (133 1⁄3 innings) and shortstop (151 1⁄3 innings). Defensively speaking, it appears as if Dubón can hold his own and provide some value, as measured by his outs above average since 2019.
Offensively, Dubón isn’t going to hit for a lot of power, and he doesn’t often walk (5.7 percent career walk rate). There is the occasional pop, however. It will be interesting to see if his low strikeout numbers to start the season (8.2 percent) compared to his 19.3 percent career average holds any significance. Probably not, to be honest, but still, something to watch. While his offensive production last season (75 wRC+) and this season (78 wRC+) doesn’t inspire much confidence, it is significantly better than what the Astros have received from Goodrum thus far. Plus, Dubón’s strikeout tendencies are likely less severe than Goodrum’s.
The Astros needed additional depth, especially if a combination of Altuve, Peña, or Díaz is placed on the IL soon. Dubón likely usurps Goodrum in the pecking order on the bench, and he is the likely first choice if Díaz is either starting or unavailable. In addition, Dubón provides a bit of insurance in centerfield if something happens to McCormick and Siri, at least until Jake Meyer’s eventual return. This trade may not move the needle much in terms of overall production, but adding another player who can field multiple positions with a high enough floor was a good decision.