Kapler responds to Dubón's comments about Giants tenure originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
HOUSTON -- Before batting practice on Tuesday afternoon, Logan Webb and Brandon Crawford caught up with Mauricio Dubón, who remains close with both former Giants teammates. It's unlikely that the Houston Astros second baseman will be exchanging pleasantries with too many other members of the organization during this series.
A day after Dubón led the Astros to a win over the Giants and then took shots at them in a postgame press conference, several team officials said they were baffled by his displeasure and feel he got a fair shot in San Francisco. Asked if he had a response, manager Gabe Kapler praised Dubón, who played for him for parts of three seasons.
"I'm happy that Mauricio is having success," Kapler said. "I think it's great. Last night he obviously had some big hits for the Astros, he's playing good defense, he's off to a really good start. We want to get him out for the next couple of days and hope that he continues to have success going forward."
Dubón raised his average to .317 with a three-hit, two-run, two-RBI performance on Monday that nearly single-handedly beat the Giants. Afterward, he said he "was not treated the right way" by his hometown team and should have gotten more playing time.
A day later, Dubón walked the comments back a bit. After he made them, he texted several friends on the team to make it clear he was referring to management, not the players.
Dubón and Kapler didn't always see eye-to-eye during his time in San Francisco, and Kapler said Tuesday that they had plenty of conversations, some that were "strictly supportive" and encouraging, and others that were about raising the bar on the field.
"I feel like we gave Mauricio a lot of good opportunities," Kapler said.
For as spicy as Dubón's comments were, some members of the Giants organization felt they weren't fully grounded in reality. Dubón did end up getting more than 500 plate appearances with the Giants, posting a .698 OPS. He was 11 points below league average as a hitter per OPS+, and when the Giants traded him to Houston, Dubón was out of options and viewed as somewhat duplicative of Thairo Estrada, who also was out of options. Choosing Estrada from the start of the 2021 season has proven to be the right decision.
The move worked out well for Dubón, too, putting a ring on his finger and giving him a chance to play for an organization that has enough hitting depth to give more playing time to players who are viewed as more glove-first. Dubón was crushed by the trade last May and has said that repeatedly to former teammates, but he's found a home in Houston, and Kapler said he wishes him the best. He also knows this is probably not the last time he'll deal with something like this.
"In my experience over the years seeing lots of big league players, when players are not getting all the opportunities that they want and they're not performing, generally speaking, they're not overjoyed about their situation," he said. "I've just seen that pretty consistently over the years. On the flip side, when a player is in the lineup regularly, having a lot of opportunity and having success, you almost always see a really content player. I think that's what's happening here."