Emilio Bonifacio leaves Toronto; reminds us of what could have been
Earlier this week, utility man Emilio Bonifacio was sent to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for future considerations (the latest rumours indicate it will be cash). This move was not completely surprising because Bonifacio, as well as most of the other Blue Jays, were placed on optional waivers earlier. According to general manager Alex Anthopolous, the Royals made a claim on Bonifacio last week, and the deal evolved from there.
For the Blue Jays, this deal makes a little bit of sense. Emilio Bonifacio had been mediocre so far this season, sporting a .218 average and only three home runs. More importantly, maneuvering Bonifacio out of the roster makes room for fan-favorite Munenori Kawasaki to make the return from triple-A Buffalo. While Bonifacio was a versatile player, he was able to play most infield and outfield positions, it is refreshing to see that the Blue Jays are beginning to whittle down their bench players. Following the Jose Reyes injury this year, the Jays found themselves overloaded with mediocre infielders in Maicer Izturis, Munenori Kawasaki and Emilio Bonifacio. Once Reyes returned, there was simply no room for all of these players, and someone had to go. Kawasaki was demoted to triple-A, and Bonifacio shared time with Izturis at second, and occasionally spent some time in the outfield with recent injuries to Melky Cabrera and Colby Rasmus.
I think this is a solid move by the Blue Jays, as stated, holding so many infielders was causing some problems. With Emilio Bonifacio gone, manager John Gibbons is free to establish a better hierarchy at second base. Likely, the position will go to Izturis and Kawasaki will remain in Toronto as a versatile bench player, getting playing time when Izturis or Reyes are off.
While I’m convinced sending Emilio Bonifacio to Kansas City is a fine deal for Toronto, it’s still unbelievably frustrating to see him have a good game there. Friday in Kansas City, Bonifacio went 1-for-3 with a walk, an RBI and a stolen base off of Tigers ace Justin Verlander in the first game of a day-night doubleheader, and followed with a walk and another stolen base in the night game. It’s only a few games, and it ultimately means nothing, but it’s just the kind of season the Jays have had. Contrast this game with one of his first games in Toronto this season, where he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts and had three fielding errors. After bringing in so much potential, it is hard to see the Jays fail so miserably. Sending him away, and seeing him show flashes of that potential, only reinforces what could have been in Toronto. So, as Jays fans have grown so accustomed to, we continue to reminisce about the season that could have been.