The Astros acquired Utility Player Maurizio Dubon from the Giants in exchange for catchers Mike Paperski, as announced by both clubs. In addition, the Giants have recalled infielders Donovan Walton to replace Dubon on the active roster and assign Papierski to Triple-A Sacramento.
Dubon, 27, was originally drafted by the Red Sox in 2013 but left for the Brewers in 2016 Tyler Dornburg act. He made it to the big leagues for a cup of coffee for two games before being sent to the Giants as part of the 2019 Deadline deal Drawn bitterness and Ray Black to the brewers.
Since that time Dubon has proven to be a useful bench/utility piece for the club. In 179 career games, he has hit .258/.301/.395 while playing at second base, third base, shortstop and midfield. That batting line sits at 88 wRC+, about 12% below the league average, but his solid defense at multiple positions has still allowed him to rack up 1.4 wins over his career backup, according to FanGraphs.
Those are solid contributions for a part-time player, but it seems Dubon just got squeezed out of a talented Giants roster. He and Thairo Estrada play a similar role on the racquet as right-handers hitting utility options. Tommy LaStella started the season on the injured list after undergoing Achilles tendon surgery in October but is currently in rehab and close to a return. The club need to make room for him and it seems they either preferred Estrada or received an offer for Dubon which tipped the scales in favor of this route. With Dubon running out of options, it wasn’t possible to send him to the minors.
For the Astros, they’ve had disappointing results from their utility players so far this year. Aledmys Diaz achieves 0.191/0.257/0.294 a year for a wRC+ of 69. Niko Goodrum was even worse as his slash line for the year is currently .128/.171/.179, wRC+ of 4. Mit Jose Altuve and Jeremy Pena Both have been struggling with minor injuries this week, the club’s midfield mix was starting to look a little shaky. They certainly hope Dubon can help shore it up.
As for Papierski, he was a ninth-round pick by the Astros in the 2017 draft. He’s since worked his way up the minor leagues, reaching Triple-A last year. His first taste of this level went well as he lined up a range of .246/.379/.375, 98 wRC+. However, he’s bottomed out so far this year, sitting on a .211/.324/.278 line, 59 wRC+. He’s also spent less time behind the plate this year, with 11 games as a catcher, nine as first base and six as a designated hitter. Last year it was 64 at the catcher and 28 at the start. If he continues this trend in his new organization, it will put more pressure on him to produce with the racquet since he won’t offer as much defensive value.