Prior to today’s game, the Astros activated utility player Mauricio Dubon, whom they acquired in a trade with the Giants yesterday, relays Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. In a corresponding move, infielder Niko Goodrum was optioned to Triple-A.
This is yet another step in what has been a downward trajectory for Goodrum in recent years. After establishing himself as a useful part of the Tigers’ roster in 2018 and 2019, things took a turn in 2020. His 2018-2019 batting line of .247/.318/.427 was just two hairs below league average, with his wRC+ coming in at 98 in that time. But due to his 24 steals and quality defense, he was worth 4.5 fWAR over that stretch.
In the shortened season, he hit .184/.263/.335 for a wRC+ of 62. Even during those two good years, he struck out 28% of the time, well above league average, but that shot up to 38.5% in 2020. This trend mostly carried over into 2021, with Goodrum hitting .214/.292/.359 with a 32.9% strikeout rate.
After two straight down years, the Tigers non-tendered him instead of opting for an approximate $2.9MM arbitration salary, as projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz. The Astros signed him to a $2.1MM guarantee with incentives, hoping that he and Aledmys Diaz could form a sort of safety net as the club tried out rookie Jeremy Pena as Carlos Correa’s shortstop replacement. Unfortunately, his troubling trends over the past couple of years have worsened, with Goodrum hitting .116/.156/.163 and striking out at a 51.1% clip.
The 30-year-old will now head to Sugar Land and see if regular playing time and at-bats can help him get things back on track and work his way back to the majors. He came into the season with four years and 31 days of service time, adding approximately 38 days to that total this year to put him somewhere around 4.069. Players with over five years of service time cannot be optioned without their consent, but Goodrum is just over 100 days shy of that, with 172 days counting as a full season.