The Astros do not need a free agent signing to replace Jose Altuve
The Houston Astros suffered their worst nightmare only 12 days from Opening Day, after second baseman Jose Altuve was hit on the thumb and is expected to miss an extended period of time.
Immediately, conversations picked up on how the Astros will weather the storm without Jose Altuve. They currently employ two utility players in David Hensley and Mauricio Dubon, who likely will split time at second. Hensley has proven himself to consistently provide quality at-bats, while Dubon has struggled at the plate.
But Hensley's hitting prowess doesn't mean he will hold down the fort every day. His ability to play across the infield will likely mean he spells Jose Abreu, Alex Bregman and Jeremy Peña on their off days. Can Houston afford to play Dubon for the first month of the season?
Even if the answer to that question is no, signing Jurickson Profar in his place is not the answer.
Yes, we said Houston should target Profar early this offseason, but that was before they had brought back Brantley and before Altuve had suffered an injury. If Houston would have landed Profar then, he likely would have played a predominately outfield role while playing the infield only in an emergency.
If Houston makes an acquisition in light of Altuve's injury, it is likely a piece that will play second primarily while utility players roam.
In 218 career games as a second baseman, Profar is worth -29 defensive runs saved. That number is...not good. He actually is a solid defender in the outfield, but is abysmal as an infielder, with -40 career defensive runs saved when playing on the dirt.
If Profar were on the roster and predominately played outfield, sure, he could make a spot start or two in case of an emergency in the infield. His inability to play infield coupled with his desired price tag means he cannot be a piece Houston targets to play second for the next few months.
David Hensley will play a lot of positions this year, Dubon will likely get some time, and we may even see Rylan Bannon or Bligh Madris get a shot at second. But Houston shouldn't spend the money on Profar in a short-sighted panic move.