Two former Houston Astros players sign free agent deals
The Houston Astros lost two organizational depth pieces on Wednesday, and the team will need to work toward replacing them this winter.
On Wednesday, former Houston Astros catcher Dustin Garneau signed a minor-league deal with the Detroit Tigers. Additionally, Joe Biagini reportedly agreed to a minor-league deal with the Chicago Cubs.
The two were not superstars in Houston and could be reaching the end on their careers. And with the season drawing closer, the Astros will need to work toward finding their replacements.
Garneau was an underperforming backup to Martin Maldonado in 2020, and after being signed by the Astros for one season, Houston was ready to part ways. The journeyman started in 13 of his 17 appearances in 2020 and looked subpar behind the plate. Garneau struggled with runners on, and the Astros noticed quickly. While he was started more games toward the beginning of the season, he barely saw the field come September. Runners loved to steal bases on him as he gave 14 stolen bases. Maldonado gave up 13 stolen bases in 47 games.
In addition to his defensive struggles, Garneau wasn’t looking hot at the plate as he averaged only .158 in 46 plate appearances. The Astros looked for his help in the playoffs to give Maldonado a day off, but he ended up taking over for Garneau during the game. Garrett Stubbs is still behind Maldonado but has lacked a bat in recent history. The Astros would be wise to look outside the organization for depth.
Biagini was another former Astro who did not stay long. The Astros couldn’t find a true spot for him in the bullpen after they acquired him along with Cal Stevenson and Aaron Sanchez for Derek Fisher in July of 2019. The move looked to add depth before a postseason push, but none of the players added much help. He contributed to a combined no-hitter on Aug. 3, 2019. Biagini went up and down for the next season and only appeared in four games. Through 4.1 innings, the right-hander surrendered 10 runs on 10 hits. While an Astros bullpen had other issues to worry about, this signaled to Biagini’s end in Houston.