Astros settle with utilityman Dubón
More news stemming from the arbitration deadline: according to Brian McTaggart, the Houston Astros reached an agreement with Mauricio Dubón, avoiding arbitration. Dubón will be paid $1.4 million for the 2023 season.
Dubón hit .214 in the 2022 season, posting a .565 OPS and a 60 OPS+. His career numbers are not much better.
He carries a .244 batting average and a .653 OPS, getting on base at a 28% clip. To be fair, he is a great defender, finishing in the 91st percentile in outs above average, though not as a center fielder, where he finished 2022 with negative defensive runs saved.
As a San Francisco Giant, Dubón posted a much more respectable .698 OPS, though on very irregular playing time. His 83 appearances for the Astros were a career high and he scuffled mightily.
Far be it from me to question the machine that Jim Crane has built, but I think this was a bad move from Houston, one they rarely make. It feels eerily similar to Niko Goodrum at the start of last season.
The Astros were spoiled by Marwin Gonzalez. It's easy to forget in light of his playoff struggles, but Aledmys Diaz also was a great bat in the utility spot. An above-average hitting utility player doesn't grow on trees.
That said, they don't have to be a complete liability at the plate. Baseball Reference currently projects 320 at bats for Dubón next season. That's 320 too many.
Every team in the game is upgrading, trying to catch the Astros. Free agency has become an arms race. The Astros would have been better served eating the $1.4 million and DFA'ing Dubón.
With Jake Meyers hopefully back to full health to start 2023 and with Pedro Leon knocking on the door, it's entirely possible Dubón finds himself on the outside looking in.
It's not a great deal of money to a big-league club, but Houston may regret not filling one of their available roster spots with a better option on their road to a repeat.