|Courtesy of Zimbio|
He was once thought to be the dark horse in the blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins; and now he’s on a plane to Kansas City to suit up with the Royals.
The Emilio Bonifacio era with the Toronto Blue Jays was quite short, albeit a tumultuous one. Although the massive trade between the Blue Jays and Marlins featured many big name players, Bonifacio was one that flew under the radar.
He projected to be a super utility switch-hitting infielder/outfielder; something that fit right in with the Blue Jays brand new versatile lineup. Emilio Bonifacio appeared to have the upper hand coming out of Spring Training as the starting second baseman, but that quickly changed.
Expectations were high that Bonifacio would contribute to the Blue Jays lineup, but instead he ended up being more of a liability than an asset. Although he possessed a great amount of speed, Bonifacio rarely got on base in the first place to even attempt a stolen base.
Emilio suffered from an injury-riddled season in 2012, but still managed to swipe 30 stolen bases in 64 games while posting an on-base percentage of .330. This season, Bonifacio has only stolen 13 bases in 94 games with an OBP of .258.
I’ll admit, I was enamoured with the speed potential of Emilio Bonifacio. For some reason, speed is a hell of a drug on a baseball team. But it’s nothing if that player can’t even get on base.
As a comparison, Munenori Kawasaki drew twice as many walks (26) than Emilio Bonifacio (13) in 24 fewer games. While Bonifacio clearly has the edge over Kawasaki in the offensive department, at least Kawasaki could draw the odd walk.
It’s almost as though Bonifacio’s plate discipline seemingly flew completely out the window this year. He swung at more pitches outside the strike zone than ever before (35.3%) and swung at more pitches overall (50.4%) and posted a career high 10.4% of swinging strikes in 2013.
Perhaps dealing a swing-happy hitter like Emilio Bonifacio is signaling a shift in the offensive philosophy of the Blue Jays. Especially at the bottom of the order, where there was a logjam of low on-base/high strikeout hitters like Emilio Bonifacio and J.P. Arencibia.
Not to mention, Bonifacio’s defense at second base was subpar at best, although maybe he wasn’t best suited as a starting second baseman in the first place. Again, maybe Emilio projects better to be a bench player a la Rajai Davis than an everyday starter.
In a way, Emilio Bonifacio’s short tenure with the Blue Jays was a microcosm for the 2013 Blue Jays season itself; it featured plenty of potential, however it fell well short of its lofty expectations.
The fact that the Blue Jays traded Bonifacio for cash or a player to be named later really speaks volumes. They sold extremely low on a player that was very highly-touted in the offseason, and now they’ll get next to nothing in return.
That should basically tell you everything you need to know about how the Blue Jays felt about Bonifacio.
While it may have been advantageous for the Blue Jays to possess a utility player like Emilio Bonifacio, the old adage rang very true in this instance. Emilio was a Jack of all trades, but a master of none with the Blue Jays.