The Astros acquired a utility player Mauricio Dubon Giants in exchange for a receiver Mike Papiersky, as announced by the two clubs. Additionally, the Giants recalled the infielder donovan walton to replace Dubon on the active roster and assigned Papierski to Triple-A Sacramento.
Dubon, 27, was originally drafted by the Red Sox in 2013 but went to the Brewers as part of the 2016 Tyler Thornburg Trade. He caught up to the major leagues for a two-game cup of coffee before being sent to the Giants as part of the 2019 deadline deal that sent Drew Pomeranz and black ray to Brewers.
Since that time, Dubon has proven to be a useful bench/utility piece for the club. In 179 career games, he hit .258/.301/.395 while spending time at second base, third base, shortstop and center field. That batting line stands at 88 wRC+, about 12% below the league average, but his solid multi-position defense still allowed him to rack up 1.4 wins above the replacement for his career, according to FanGraphs.
Those are solid contributions for a part-time player, but it looks like Dubon may have just been ousted from a talented Giants squad. Him and Thairo Estrada play similar roles on the club as utility right-handed striking options. Tommy LaStella started the season on the injured list after undergoing Achilles surgery in October, but is currently in rehab and nearing a comeback. The club will have to make room for him and it looks like they either preferred Estrada or got an offer on Dubon which tipped the scales in favor of that path. Since Dubon is out of options, sending him to the miners wasn’t going to be possible.
For the Astros, they’ve had disappointing results from their utility players so far this year. Aledmys Diaz reached .191/.257/.294 over the year for a wRC+ of 69. Niko Goodrum was even worse, as its slant line over the year is currently .128/.171/.179, wRC+ of 4. With Jose Altuve and Jeremy Pena both facing minor injuries this week, the club’s midfield mix was starting to look a little wonky. They’re surely hoping that Dubon can help shore it up.
As for Papierski, he was a ninth-round selection of the Astros in the 2017 draft. He has since risen through the minor league ranks, reaching Triple-A last year. His first taste of this level went well, as he put up a line of .246/.379/.375, 98 wRC+. However, he has dipped so far this year, sitting on a .211/.324/.278, 59 wRC+ line. He’s also spent less time behind the plate this year, with 11 games at catcher, nine at first base and six at designated hitter. Last year it was 64 at receiver and 28 at start. If he continues this trend in his new organization, it will put more pressure on him to produce at bat because he won’t provide as much defensive value.