The Astros have agreed to a minor league deal with the infielder Dixon Machado and invited him to Major League Spring Training, per a team announcement.
A longtime Tigers farmhand, the now 30-year-old Machado saw Major League time in parts of four seasons with Detroit, hitting a combined .227/.285/.295 in 505 trips to the plate from 2015-18. Lack of MLB success notwithstanding, Machado has a solid track record in the upper minors and, after a nice showing with the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate in 2019, signed with the Lotte Giants of the Korea Baseball Organization in 2020.
Machado spent two years in the KBO, both with the Giants, and batted a combined .280/.359/.393 in 277 games there. That showing netted him a minor league pact to return to the Cubs, who flipped him to the Giants in a depth swap prior to the trade deadline. Machado went 3-for-15 in five big league games with San Francisco before being cut from the 40-man roster and heading back to Triple-A. Between the Cubs and Giants, Machado appeared in 121 Triple-A games and hit .291/.372/.391.
All told, Machado has logged parts of five seasons in Triple-A, batting .267/.347/.373 in 2222 plate appearances at the top minor league level. He’s a versatile infield defender with experience at all four positions, albeit just 43 innings at first base. The vast majority of Machado’s professional work has come at shortstop, where he’s logged more than 11,000 innings and drew positive reviews from scouting reports dating back to his prospect days.
The addition of Machado is generally a depth signing for the Astros, though Aledmys Diaz reaching free agency this winter, the door for Machado to make the team and seize a utility role is perhaps a bit more open than it would’ve been in offseasons past. Mauricio Dubon and David Hensley are both on the 40-man roster and both give the ‘Stros a potential utility infielder for 2023, although Hensley has minimal Major League experience.