Infielder Dixon Machado went unclaimed on outright waivers and has been assigned to Triple-A Sacramento by the Giants, tweets Evan Webeck of the San Jose Mercury News. The Giants designated Machado for assignment just a week after acquiring him from the Cubs in a minor swap that sent 30-year-old righty Raynel Espinal to Chicago. Machado’s acquisition helped the Giants to patch a brief infield need with Thairo Estrada in concussion protocol and veterans Brandon Crawford (knee inflammation) and Evan Longoria (minor oblique strain) all on the injured list. That trio has since been reinstated, pushing Machado from the roster.
It’s uncommon to see a team give up a player in move designed as only a short-term stopgap, but Espinal is a 30-year-old right-hander who’d signed as a minor league free agent, pitched to a 5.29 ERA with San Francisco’s top affiliate in Sacramento, and can again become a minor league free agent at season’s end. Viewed through that lens, the Giants didn’t exactly surrender any potential long-term value in the swap, which will simply provide the Cubs with a bit of rotation depth in the final couple months.
Machado, also 30, appeared in five games and took 17 plate appearances with the Giants, hitting .200/.294/.200 in that tiny sample. He’s had a nice season in the upper minors, batting .312/.402/.394 in 391 plate appearances during his first season back in North American ball after a nice showing in the Korea Baseball Organization. Machado spent the 2020-21 campaigns with the KBO’s Lotte Giants and turned in a .280/.359/.393 in 1095 plate appearances. His power and prowess on the basepaths both faded in his second KBO season, but Machado posted nearly identical batting averages (.280, .281) and on-base percentages (.356, .361) in two otherwise consistent seasons abroad.
Because he’s been outrighted in the past, Machado will have the opportunity to reject this assignment in favor of free agency. There’s been no indication to this point that he plans to do so, however. Assuming he indeed sticks with the Giants for the remainder of the season, he’ll give them some depth behind veterans Longoria, Crawford, Estrada, Wilmer Flores and Tommy La Stella over the final couple months. He can again be a free agent at season’s end.