With Jose Altuve set to miss the first two months of the season, the Astros depth will be tested. They entered Spring Training with two utility options: David Hensley and Mauricio Dubon. After Altuve went down, it appears Hensley will be the primary second baseman.
The loss of a utility player is detrimental, as it now becomes harder for Dusty Baker to build in off days for the likes of Alex Bregman, José Abreu and Jeremy Peña. Might the Astros pivot and try to land a stopgap option to preserve Hensley as a utility option? Let's look at three players Houston could attempt to land while Altuve is out.
A reunion with Tony Kemp could be in the cards. Kemp was beloved in Houston by teammates and fans alike. Beyond just his affable nature, he could be an asset for the Astros.
He plays both second base and left field, two positions the Astros have faced injury concerns. He could split time with Hensley at second base, and occasionally spell Yordan or Brantley in left. For his career, he is worth five defensive runs saved as an outfielder, but -8 as a second baseman.
He isn't a world beater, at the plate, but is an upgrade over Mauricio Dubón. Kemp hit .235 with a .307 OBP and .641 OPS last season, but the year prior posted an .800 OPS and 126 OPS+ in a much deeper lineup than what Oakland trotted out last season. Dubon posted only a .565 OPS last season batting in a loaded lineup and for his career has a 79 OPS+.
Kemp also is a threat on the basepaths, going 11/12 in stolen bases last season, a number that could go even higher with the bigger bases.
Additionally, he's cheap. Kemp is on an expiring contract worth $3.725 million. The Oakland A's are going nowhere fast, and Kemp could likely be landed for a very minimal cost.