Houston Astros trade for utilityman Bligh Madris
The Houston Astros added another piece to their 40-man roster yesterday, announcing they acquired Bligh Madris from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for cash considerations. While not an earth shattering move, it is noteworthy for a couple of reasons.
First, Madris immediately joined the 40-man roster, giving them 39 and leaving only one spot open.
Secondly, is Madris the utility player Houston has been rumored to be adding? The 26-year-old made his big league debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates last season, appearing in 39 games. He played all three outfield spots and first base in those 39 games.
He struggled at the plate, hitting only .177 with a .509 OPS in his in lone big league stint. That said, his numbers may very well see an uptick batting in Houston’s lineup instead of Pittsburgh. He’d be surrounded by all-star caliber bats and a steady amount of traffic on the base paths will likely mean he sees more pitches to hit than he did as a Pirate.
While he struggled at the plate in Pittsburgh, Madris has experienced some success during his two seasons in AAA. Across two seasons with the Indianapolis Indians and Durham Bulls, Madris hit .284 with an .828 OPS. In 81 games in AAA this season, the utility man hit .297 with an .877 OPS.
If Madris can find it at the plate this season, he gives the Astros yet another versatile piece they’ve covered over the years. It’s no secret that Jose Abreu is not a young player and that both Yordan Alvarez and Michael Brantley have battled durability issues throughout their career.
Madris and David Hensley would give the Astros two utility men capable of spelling their veterans in both the infield and outfield. Madris could also give Kyle Tucker days off in right.
He’s already likely a better piece than Mauricio DuBon with regard to the at-bats he will provide. And he also brings a couple of minor league options in the case of early struggles or a deadline acquisition.
We saw Seth Martinez experience something similar last season as he possessed options that the rest of the bullpen did not, so he spent some time in AAA though his performance likely did not justify such a thing.
The Madris acquisition makes a lot of sense. It’s a low risk, potentially middle-to-high reward for nothing more than some cash considerations. Well done Houston!