One small free-agent domino has fallen. Former SF Giants shortstop Dixon Machado has agreed to a minor league deal with the Houston Astros, per the team's transaction page. The minor league free-agent market has begun picking up steam in recent days, which could be a sign of things to come for the Giants in terms of organizational depth.
Houston Astros add former SF Giants middle infielder on MiLB deal
Machado had a very brief tenure with the Giants. Midway through the season, both Brandon Crawford (knee) and Thairo Estrada (concussion) landed on the injured list at the same time, leaving the organization very thin on middle infielders.
To complicate matters, Will Wilson was also on the injured list for the Sacramento River Cats. They had run out of options, so they were forced to make an emergency trade. San Francisco was in the midst of a series against the Chicago Cubs and they worked a mid-series trade, sending minor league pitcher Raynel Espinal to Chicago in exchange for Machado.
Trades in the middle of a series with the opposing team do not happen often. Oddly enough, that is not the first mid-series trade with the Cubs in recent memory. In 2010, middle infielder Mike Fontenot was shipped to the Giants while sending minor league outfielder Evan Crawford to Chicago in return. Fontenot appeared in the final game of that series as the Giants secured an 8-7 victory against the Cubs.
On a different note, the Giants have had some odd lineups over the years, but having Fontenot bat third is one of the weirder lineups in my opinion.
With San Francisco, Machado recorded three hits in 15 at-bats while playing a competent shortstop in 2022. This was a very short-term move as the 30-year-old middle infielder was designated for assignment once the Giants' primary middle infielders returned to health.
Machado went unclaimed and finished the year with Sacramento where he slashed .231/.282/.380 (61 wRC+) with four home runs, 15 RBI, and 14 runs in 131 plate appearances. He became a free agent at the end of the year and did not remain on the open market for long.
The right-handed bat will have a tough time cracking the Astros' roster, especially after they just won the World Series. However, he can serve as depth in case an emergency arises.