The Houston Astros have rolled with Aledmys Diaz as their utility player, ever since Marwin Gonzalez departed for Minnesota. The former All-Star has battled a few small injuries, but hasn’t reached his peak numbers in an Astros uniform. Although being the go-to platoon player, Diaz could easily be replaced for someone like Robel Garcia or Abraham Toro.
While making $3 million this year, the Astros could possibly move Diaz’s contract at the trade deadline and rely on Garcia and Toro to do the same thing for a lower price. Although this is just a theory, it could make sense since the organization is close to the luxury tax threshold and has talked about not going over that line.
Robel Garcia could be the Astros’ utility player at a cheaper price.
While being claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels earlier this spring, Garcia has only made it to the major leagues once with the Chicago Cubs in 2019. Although bouncing around on waivers this past season, the switch-hitter will be a part of the minor league money pool, while still having options. Garcia’s acquisition came as a surprise, and while filling the 40-man roster, it makes the most sense he would start in AAA, if he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster.
The lack of infield depth in the higher minor league systems is evident, and his move to the Astros fills that need like a Jack Mayfield. In Wednesday’s tie with the St. Louis Cardinals, Garcia played shortstop and went hitless in two at bats. This spring, the switch-hitter is slashing .286/.375/.500 with a home run and three runs. Although known for his power, Garcia is getting on base by walks and singles, which is just what the Astros need from their utility player.
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Many teams need defensive first players, but if they can’t get on base, then that’s a waste of a lineup spot. Easy outs are not something worth leaving in your lineup, while the team has two utility players at a cheaper price with options in the minor leagues. Diaz will most likely start the season on the Opening Day roster, but if the Astros can get a prospect or cash in return, then they could consider this move .
Diaz, Garcia and Toro have all had efficient springs, that are also backed up by their ability to play anywhere in the field. With Garcia’s experience in the outfield, he adds that needed help for an outfield lacking depth. The overall experience is the lacking issue, while a healthy Diaz could be the most impactful option at the plate.
The Astros are not on the field on Thursday but will be back against the Washington Nationals on Friday at 5:05 p.m. This game will, unfortunately, not be televised but will be on the radio on 790 AM.