The Houston Astros have a question mark on how they’ll open the season at shortstop, if Carlos Correa signs elsewhere. While no free agent can replace Correa’s value at shortstop, the Astros can look to bridge a gap for the future in Jeremy Peña or replace production at other positions.
As reported by Michael Schwab and Jon Heyman of MLB Network, Niko Goodrum signed a one-year deal worth $2.1 million plus incentives, but this is not stopgap worthy. Yet, his versatility could bolster the Astros’ bench in 2022.
Niko Goodrum brings versatility to the Astros’ bench as a cheap option.
Goodrum is a switch-hitter, who just cracked 30-years-old. The infielder was eyed as a future asset to the Detroit Tigers, but after four seasons, they outrighted him to Triple-A and Goodrum elected free agency.
If the active rosters remains at 26 men to open the season, the Astros don’t have many other middle-infield options other than Peña, Jose Altuve and Aledmys Diaz, as Joe Perez will need more minor-league experience.
With these two expected to take most of the innings, Goodrum offers a viable glove for infield depth, as well as another corner outfield option. The right-hander has played every position except pitcher and catcher at the major-league level.
Goodrum slashed .214/.292/.359 in 90 games for the 2021 Tigers. As a switch-hitter, he favors the right side against a lefty pitcher, hitting to an OPS of .741 in 2021 compared to .606 on the opposite side.
The Astros wouldn’t be after the bat of Goodrum, but if changing his approach to only hitting right-handed could help, then they could be looking at a low-risk, high-reward option off the bench.
Goodrum made $2.1 million in 2021, which is in the ballpark of what his market value was for this offseason.
The 40-man roster is full at the moment, so Goodrum’s signing requires a corresponding move. This could come from either a trade or a designation of a fringe reliever for assignment.
Goodrum also replaces the role of what Robel García, Abraham Toro and Marwin Gonzalez filled last season. His deal is not yet official, while he will undergo a physical in Houston on Monday, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.