Astros acquire versatile Dubón to bolster depth

May 14th, 2022

WASHINGTON -- With starting second baseman Jose Altuve and starting shortstop Jeremy Peña dealing with nagging injuries and the Astros not getting much production from their bench, the club made a trade Saturday to bolster its position-player depth, acquiring Mauricio Dubón from the Giants in exchange for Minor League catcher Michael Papierski.

Dubón, 27, has played four years in the big leagues, mostly with the Giants, after being acquired from the Brewers. He has a career slash line of .258/.301/.395 with 15 homers and 58 RBIs in 179 games. He’s played mostly in center field but has substantial time at second base and shortstop, as well as some at third.

Astros general manager James Click said Dubón will join the Astros in Washington on Sunday, at which time a corresponding roster move will be made.

“Mauricio is a guy that we targeted as far back as this offseason and targeted to try to get on the team,” Click said. “We weren’t able to do so then and continued the conversation with the Giants for a while. He is a multi-position player who brings a lot to the table in terms of defensive versatility.”

Peña, who’s having a terrific rookie season, sat out Friday’s series opener in Washington with right knee discomfort that he sustained while running the bases Thursday in Minneapolis. Altuve slipped on the wet grass late in Friday’s game and was removed in the ninth inning for precautionary reasons. It’s unclear what Altuve injured. Click doesn’t believe Altuve or Peña will require a stint on the injured list.

“Those kinds of nagging injuries, as well as Aledmys Díaz [nagging injury], really highlighted to me the marathon that we have in front of us and really helped motivate us to make this move,” Click said. “We don’t anticipate either one of those guys having to go on the IL, but we will reassess the roster after today and see what makes the most sense.”

Still, the Astros haven’t been getting much production from their bench this year. The utility infielder/outfielder Díaz, who’s also been dealing with a hand issue, is hitting .191/.257/.294, and infielder Niko Goodrum is hitting .128/.171/.179. Dubón could provide more punch offensively, and Click believes he’s a solid defender at several positions.

“There are a lot of multi-position guys who are weaker at one position, maybe, than another,” Click said. “We don’t feel like Mauricio falls into that. We feel like he can provide quality defense in the outfield, and our defense is something that has been critical to this team’s success over the course of the season. We think he can be a big part of that going forward.”

The Astros have only two other infielders on the 40-man roster at Triple-A -- Joe Perez and J.J. Matijevic -- and both came up earlier this year to fill out the roster for short stints.

Papierski, a ninth-round pick in 2017, has put together a .211/.324/.278 slash line in 26 games this season at Triple-A with the Sugar Land Space Cowboys.