The San Francisco Giants are shaking up their infield a little bit. On Tuesday, just a few hours before the series finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Giants optioned utility player Mauricio Dubón, and called up fellow utility player (but primarily infielder) Thairo Estrada.
The Giants recalled Thairo Estrada and optioned Mauricio Dubón to Triple-A Sacramento.— Maria I. Guardado (@mi_guardado) June 29, 2021
Dubón has been struggling a bit at the plate this year, and is hitting just .234/.272/.373, good for an OPS+ (where 100 is average) of 78. The right-handed hitter, who is about to turn 27, has been a staple in the clubhouse ever since getting called up in 2019, shortly after the Giants acquired him from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Drew Pomeranz and Ray Black.
He also hasn’t been getting a lot of opportunity, for reasons a little bit out of his control. Dubón entered the season expecting to see a lot of reps in center field and a fair amount at shortstop, where he could platoon with Brandon Crawford. But Crawford has been one of the best players in the National League this year, and Steven Duggar has had a breakout season in center field. As such, what Dubón provides simply isn’t quite as needed at the moment. Add in the cold bat, and it’s easy to see why the Giants are optioning him for the time being.
Up comes Estrada who has just one plate appearance at the MLB level this season. But he has been absolutely destroying baseballs in AAA, where he’s hit .385/.448/.609 in 174 plate appearances with the Sacramento River Cats.
He’s also made a lot of errors in AAA, so the Giants are likely aware that they’ll be taking a step backwards with their defensive depth. But with Donovan Solano not replicating his 2020 (he’s hitting .273/.326/.388, with an OPS+ of 99), the Giants likely wanted to try and find some pop in a bat that they can put in the infield.
Hopefully Dubón can find some rhythm playing every day in the Minors. Given his versatility, and his ability to hit home runs off of Clayton Kershaw, he could have a long Giants career if he can get everything to click.