Reaction to the Emilio Bonifacio Trade

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.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

5 thoughts on “Reaction to the Emilio Bonifacio Trade

  • August 14, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    The only thing more depressing then the 2012 Blue Jays will be the 2013 ones. Jays fans won't get to see playoff baseball ever. i've abandoned all hope. #hopeless

    • August 14, 2013 at 10:43 pm

      Fear not, my friend … things can't possibly be this bad next year. Right?

    • August 16, 2013 at 5:43 pm

      it all depends what AA is permitted to spend in the off season. If Rogers supports him. With the removal of Johnson, Cabrera and Bonifacio from the roster AA will save 28 million. I am sure he will find more money. But the jays have a strong core and with the addition of a big name outfielder a starter and possibly a second baseman the jays are back in the hunt.

  • August 16, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    Next season The Blue Jays will need a Good catcher, second baseman,better closer,and 2 good pitchers. Casey Jannsen [While good] is only good as an 8th. inning set up pitcher as required. Get rid of the Manager[useless]!! Get rid of their knuckleball pitcher]could not even tie up Hoyt Wilhelm's Shoes!!] Last but not least, teach these overpaid players left, how to play fundamental baseball!!

    • August 16, 2013 at 8:25 pm

      Yes, because as we all know, managers hit, field, and pitch. I'm sure that's exactly what Gibbons instructed his players to do: "You! Strike out more! You! I want to see that ERA higher, mister! And, for Godsakes, more errors, people! It's like you don't want to have the worst fielding percentage in all of baseball. Sheesh!"

      The only thing that Gibbons really has control over is the lineup and the bullpen. He did as good a job with the bullpen as he possibly could (when your starters refuse to give you at least five every night, it's a miracle the bullpen didn't break down earlier in the season) and what is he supposed to do when his hitters won't hit? Shuffle the lineup to shake things up? Well, guess what? He tried that too and they still refused to put the bat on the ball. Short of going up to the dish and taking swings himself, I'm not sure what you expect.

      I honestly believe that the Baseball Classic had a lot to do with their slow start (when half your team isn't playing for you in the first month of the season, it's bound to have an effect) and I believe it will be better next year — especially since AA has shown that if they don't produce he's willing to break up the country club and ship under-performers out.

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