Tag: Emilio Bonifacio

MLB Spring Training Struggles Fans Should Start Worrying About

Spring training is the perfect time of year for the little things to be absolutely blown out of proportion. This team is doing well and this team is struggling, which means the regular season will be like that.

Very often, though, the spring is a time to iron out the kinks, and the struggles in March are completely forgotten by the middle of the summer. Teams like the Cleveland Indians and San Francisco Giants have been awful this spring but are still favorites to make the playoffs this year.

But for every team that overcomes the problems on display in spring, there is one that ignored the warning signs and watches the struggles continue deep into the season.


Baltimore Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles have been one of the more surprising teams of the past three years in MLB. Despite never developing an elite rotation, the O’s have used stellar defense and power hitting to make the playoffs in two of the last three seasons.

With Nelson Cruz, who led the American League in home runs last year, off to Seattle, Baltimore’s bats were already expected to take a hit. But the signs in spring have been worrying to say the least. Although the Orioles are third in homers with 24 so far, they are also 25th in batting average and 27th in on-base percentage.

The starting pitching issues are still there for Baltimore, and there is only so much that hitting home runs can do over the course of a 162-game season, so the poor hitting numbers aren’t a great sign for a team that hopes to take the next step this season.

The AL East isn’t the juggernaut it has been in past seasons, but something needs to be done if the Orioles are going to remain competitive and repeat the magic of last season’s run (highlights of which are in the video below).

Joey Votto

How long ago it seems the Cincinnati Reds were a dark horse pick to rally behind Joey Votto and claim the elusive World Series title the franchise hasn’t seen since 1990.

But after Votto missed 100 games last season, and the Reds finished 10 games under .500, it feels like the window might be closing on this current crop of players.

Coming into the spring, the fans were looking for signs to be optimistic. But they just haven’t been there so far. Votto, in particular, hasn’t bounced back in the way many had hoped, only hitting .250 with one home run and two RBI.

He has only played eight games so far, but the former MVP will be expected to shoulder the load for the Reds this year like he did in 2010. Highlights from that season can be seen in this highlight video, but his spring performance isn’t one that instills confidence.

While Votto’s numbers are the most likely to turn around of the players on this list, the only way the Reds return to the playoffs is if he repeats his 2010 campaign, an unlikely prospect if things continue the way they have so far.


Emilio Bonifacio

Never known as a player with the ability to tear the cover off the ball, Emilio Bonifacio has seen any hitting abilities he had completely fall by the wayside. So far this spring, the White Sox’s second baseman is hitting .097 with no RBI and five strikeouts.

The numbers are a bit deceiving, as Bonifacio still has an OBP of .243, but it is hard to ignore any player who is going to be in a regular in a lineup hitting less than .100. The White Sox will be chasing the Indians all season long and will need better production from their second baseman than what he has shown this spring.

Although a poor spring can be chalked up to just an off month, and players often turn things around once the regular season starts, Bonifacio’s numbers have been so awful that expectations are already lower than they once were.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if Bonifacio wasn’t the starter to start the season, with youngster Micah Johnson hitting .455 and likely to take control of the spot. If Bonifacio does lose his spot in the starting lineup early, it could be hard to get it back at all this season.

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Emilio Bonifacio to White Sox: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

Journeyman Emilio Bonifacio has a new home.  

According to Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi and CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the 29-year-old, who has played with seven different teams during his eight-year MLB career, has signed with the Chicago White Sox:

Heyman noted the deal was pending a physical, but he also stated this has been a “brilliant winter” for Chicago.

Although he has moved around quite a bit in the last couple of years, Bonifacio‘s role is clear: He’s a versatile utility man who provides speed on the basepaths and plays a multitude of different positions. 

As MLBDailyDish.com’s Chris Cotillo noted back in November, he had lots of suitors:

Spending time between the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves last season, he hit .259/.305/.345 with three home runs, 17 doubles, four triples and 26 stolen bases. Over the last three campaigns, he has swiped an average of 44 bags per 162 games. 

“He’s always a pain to play against,” Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons said when the team acquired Bonifacio last trade deadline, via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s David O’Brien. “It’s going to be fun having him on the team and not have to worry about him stealing bases (against the Braves). He’s going to steal bases for us.”

Defensively, he’s a Swiss army knife. While he spent most of the 2014 season at center field, he played every outfield position, third base, second base and shortstop. 

This isn’t a signing that will alter the landscape of the league, but players like Bonifacio often play significant roles on winning teams. The switch-hitter can give almost any starter a day off here or there. He can come on as a pinch runner or a defensive replacement. He’s a veteran presence in the clubhouse. 

If he does those things for the White Sox, this will prove to be a valuable signing. 

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2 Moves Cincinnati Reds Should Have Made at the Deadline

The Cincinnati Reds didn’t make a move at the 2014 MLB trade deadline, but there were a couple of moves the team should have pushed to make.

Cincinnati was around .500 as the deadline approached, so it was in a bit of a tough spot. The team wasn’t in a good enough position to be “buyers,” but it certainly wasn’t in a position to sell. Plus, the team has two franchise players on the disabled list, so making a blockbuster deal wasn’t going to happen.

With a tight payroll, the team was going to have to look for good bargains. 

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty, via MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, said the team did explore trades. However, there weren’t many offensive pieces available. The team wasn’t looking for superstars, but it did want versatile players.

It’s tough to blame the team for not making a move. Not many teams were selling, so the asking prices were high.

Whether or not the Reds actually looked at the players on this list, they should have attempted to acquire at least one of them.


LHP Antonio Bastardo

The Reds could use some bats, but they could also use a left-handed reliever. The Philadelphia Phillies were expected to be one of the biggest sellers at the deadline, which meant they likely would have listened to offers on Antonio Bastardo.

Sean Marshall is out for the season after undergoing shoulder surgery, and after two consecutive injury-riddled seasons, who knows what his future holds. Manny Parra—the only left-handed reliever in the bullpen not named Aroldis Chapman—has been a disappointment this season and has been battling a back injury recently. 

Cincinnati could have used another southpaw, and Bastardo would have been a good fit. His raw numbers (4.05 ERA and 1.200 WHIP) aren’t great, but when he throws strikes, the 28-year-old is very good.

Left-handed batters are hitting only .179 against Bastardo, which is much lower than the .262 average left-handers have against Parra. Right-handed hitters (.191) aren’t having much more success against Bastardo.

Unfortunately, the southpaw has 25 walksjust one away from his career highin 46.2 innings this season. His strikeouts per nine are up this season, but his strikeout-to-walk ratio is the worst of his career.

Bastardo would have been a good fit in Cincinnati. Manager Bryan Price has been able help get the most out of relievers over the years, and he could have worked with the left-hander to get him to throw strikes more consistently.

Bastardo is under club control through the 2015 season, so if Marshall is unable to pitch effectively next season, the team would have had another left-hander in the bullpen it could turn to.

Philadelphia did not end up trading away any of its veterans at the deadline, mainly because teams said the Phillies were asking for too much. It’s not clear as to how serious they were in trading any of their players, but if they were willing to deal Bastardo, the Reds should have made a big push.


UT Emilio Bonifacio

The Chicago Cubs made it clear they were going to trade utility man Emilio Bonifacio, and he would have been a perfect fit in Cincinnati. 

Chicago ended up trading Bonifacio and James Russell as a package to the Atlanta Braves for a power-hitting prospect just before the deadline. That’s a package that could have benefited the Reds in a big way, as it would have brought back a versatile player and a left-handed reliever. The Cubs may not have traded both inside the division, but the Reds could have at least attempted to acquire the utility man.

Bonifacio fits what the Reds need on offense and defense.

The switch-hitting veteran hit .279 with two home runs, 14 doubles and three triples with the Cubs this season. He also notched 14 stolen bases, which is something Price likes in a player. Bonifacio is hitting a ridiculous .403 against southpaws, which is an area where the Reds (.246) have struggled this season.

With his bat and speed, he would have been a good fit in the second spot in Cincinnati’s lineup.

Not only would his offense be a good fit, but his defense is also exactly what the Reds needed. Nearly everyone on the projected 25-man roster has been hurt this season, so the team has been forced to piece together lineups. Bonifacio’s versatility would have been a welcomed addition. He can play second, shortstop, third and anywhere in the outfield.

Chicago may have been willing to deal Bonifacio inside the National League Central. He is set to be a free agent after this season, so he may have just been a rental player.

Bonifacio isn’t a superstar, but the way this season has gone, his versatility is something that would have been a great addition to the Reds.


All stats are via MLB.com

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Jose Reyes Ankle Injury: 3 Possible Replacements If Injury Is Long-Term

The Toronto Blue Jays’ hopes for a postseason run in 2013 appeared to take a major hit Friday night when shortstop Jose Reyes left the game with an apparently serious ankle injury. As team officials wait to find out the extent of his situation, they should start considering possible replacements if it turns out to be a long-term absence.

MLB.com’s video showed that Reyes hurt his ankle while attempting a stolen base and sliding into second in the sixth inning of a game against the Kansas City Royals:

MLB Network analyst Dan Plesac indicated in a tweet his belief that the injury was serious:

Losing Reyes for any length of time would be a huge blow to Toronto. Despite the team’s 4-6 start, he had led the team with a .395 batting average and an American League-leading five stolen bases.

While the Blue Jays wait to find out about Reyes, who was a centerpiece acquisition this past offseason, they must start looking ahead in the event of a lengthy absence.

Click through to see three possible replacements for Reyes if he is forced to miss extensive time this season.

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Toronto Blue Jays: Who Will Emerge as the Second Baseman?

It’s been a long time since Roberto Alomar manned second base for the Toronto Blue Jays, and boy do they miss him. What was once a point of strength and consistency for the ballclub has become a revolving cast of players.

Since Alomar moved on to Baltimore after the 1995 season, second base has seen the likes of Homer Bush, Aaron Hill, Orlando Hudson and most recently Kelly Johnson come and go. Fans of the early 1990 Blue Jays have had to deal with a lengthy stretch of average play from their second basemen—save for Aaron Hill’s 2009 campaign that netted him his only All-Star appearance and a Silver Slugger—and it appears that trend will continue.

This year there are two new faces that will be battling for playing time on the right side of the infield. Emilio Bonifacio and Maicer Izturis are both offseason acquisitions for the Blue Jays, but which one of them will get the nod as the starting second baseman is still up in the air.

Looking at their offensive numbers leaves little room for comparison as they posted nearly identical numbers. Bonifacio had a batting average of .258 compared to Izturis’ .256 last season. Their on-base percentage differed by just 10 points and Bonifacio crossed the plate just five time more than Izturis last season.

Their career averages are similar as well as Bonifacio is a career .267 hitter with a .329 OBP while Izturis has hit .273 with an OBP of .337 over his career.

Both players will bat out of the bottom of an already powerful Toronto batting order, and their ability to get on base to give the top of the order a chance to produce runs may become a large factor in divvying up the playing time.

In my opinion, Maicer Izturis will be the starting second baseman for the 2013 edition of the Blue Jays. Although Izturis has a very slight advantage in some key offensive categories, for argument’s sake we can assume the difference between their offensive production over the course of a full season will be negligible. Izturis still has a clear advantage in a few key areas.

The first is experience. Izturis, five years Bonifacio’s senior, has played 168 games at second base in his career. Compared to Bonifacio’s 75 games played at the position, there is a noticeable difference in experience.

This experience is reflected in their defensive statistics as well. Izturis has a career range factor per nine innings of 5.06 compared to Bonifacio’s career mark of 4.51. Range factor per nine innings has a simple formula that combines a player’s number of putouts and assists divided by the innings they’ve played to generate a crude score of their defensive capabilities. The higher the number, the larger a player’s range.

Another telling statistics is that although Izturis has played 93 more games at second base, he has committed two fewer errors. In Bonifacio’s career at second, he has been charged with 12 errors, compared to Izturis’ 10.

One last factor tipping the scale in the direction of Izturis, is of no fault to Bonifacio. In fact, it is his versatility as a fielder that makes him more valuable as a bench player than as a starter. By having Izturis man second base on a day-to-day basis, it will allow manager John Gibbons to deploy Bonifacio around the diamond as needed to provide off days or to exploit pitching matchups.

In 2011, Bonifacio spent time playing every position on the field except for pitcher, catcher and first base. His versatility is a valuable skill set to have coming off the bench and means Izturis is more likely to be the second baseman.

Before Bonifacio was acquired from the Miami Marlins, general manager Alex Anthopoulos acquired Izturis via free agency to fill the hole left by preceding second baseman Kelly Johnson. Anthopoulos signed Izturis to be the team’s second baseman, and I believe that is how the season will play out.

All statistics courtesy of baseball-reference.com

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MLB Trade Rumors: Toronto Blue Jays Should Not Trade Emilio Bonifacio

With an offseason that has already rocketed the Toronto Blue Jays to the top of the baseball world, would anyone really be surprised if general manager Alex Anthopoulos was to pull off another move?

According to Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Atlanta Braves are interested in recently-acquired Blue Jays second baseman/outfielder Emilio Bonifacio:



While this news broke before the acquisition of Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, that trade should not really impact the moving of Bonifacio is both the Braves and Jays are still interested in striking a deal.

But would moving the 27-year-old speedster be the right move for Toronto?

Absolutely not.

Despite the fact that some believe he is only a bench player, with Maicer Izturis being the lead candidate to start at second base, I am not so sure.

In fact, other than his injury-plagued 2012 season, Bonifacio had been a player improving year-to-year in south Florida.

From 2007, when he made his debut with the Arizona Diamondbacks, right up to 2011, Bonifacio had never seen his batting average decrease.

In 2011, the native of the Dominican Republic  hit .293, with an OBP of .360, and proceeded to swipe 40 bases.

While he may not hit for power, plugging him into the two-hole behind Jose Reyes could give opposing pitchers major headaches.

In 2012, Bonifacio actually stole 30 bases in just 64 games, a stat, that extrapolated over 162 games, would come out to a mind-blowing 76 stolen bases.

What’s even more impressive is that Bonifacio was only caught three times.

Yet because of his season-ending injury and his lack-luster performance in 2012, many Jays fans seem ambivalent towards his arrival.

Make no mistake, Emilio Bonifacio is a very talented player who had one down year. All other evidence over the course of his five full seasons (from 2008 to 2012) points to him being a player who is still getting better and just hitting his prime.

Considering him an expendable piece for the Toronto Blue Jays would be a big mistake.

At the very least, he’s a better player than Maicer Izturis, who has not done anything that has stood out over the last three years.

Since it was reported that the Braves have interest in Bonifacio, nothing has come to fruition. Jays fans should hope it stays that way.


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Florida Marlins: How to Address Their Current Offensive Situation

The Marlins are clearly in a rough patch. These past few days they have been on a horrible losing streak, based mainly on the fact that they are not knocking in runs.

The pitching hasn’t been stellar, but it certainly hasn’t been bad. Statistically the Marlins have been strong in the pitching department, but lately their woes have had a lot to do with their offense.

Since their three-game sweep against the San Francisco Giants, the Marlins have gone 19-for-111 with runners in scoring position (RISP), for a .197 batting average. 

This offensive drought has motivated management to fire hitting coach John Mallee and replace him with former big-leaguer and ESPN analyst Eduardo Perez.

The hitting coach could be a solution to this problem, but there are many other factors that are causing this drought, and one of them is the third base position.

The Marlins have been in a very tough spot regarding their third base position. It was thought that young Matt Dominguez would take the hot corner, but due to a poor spring, the organization felt that he  needed more seasoning in the minors. All of the sudden Dominguez got injured, and the Marlins were left with a rotating third base between Emilio Bonifacio and Gregg Dobbs.

The Marlins are in need of a third baseman, not to discredit Boni or Dobbs. But Florida needs consistency in their lineup, and neither of these players are capable of that. 

In order to fill that gap, it was suggested that the Marlins dip into the trading block and possibly make a run for Aramis Ramirez or David Wright. Unfortunately neither of these players are viable options. Ramirez is having a very poor year and the asking price for him is very high. Meanwhile, Wright is also having a subpar year and the idea of acquiring him from a division rival would probably make this trade a lot less likely to happen.

Even If the Marlins are going to make trades, it’s important to recognize that the Marlins farm system is dry. There are no big prospects that can be used as trade bait, so don’t be expecting a big deal anytime soon.

So with the lack of third baseman in the Majors and a weak farm system, where does this leave the Marlins?

The answer to this question is harsh and people may not like to hear it; but the Marlins are going to be offensively subpar for the rest of the season. However, there is a bright side to this and its that Hanley Ramirez is coming off the disabled list soon.

Even so, the only thing that the Marlins can do right now is make amends with what they’ve got, and they do have a lot of talent. But they have an inconsistent lineup that needs to be addressed soon in order for the Marlins to continue what has been so far a strong season.

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Florida Marlins Roster 2013: A Reason For Marlins Fans To Be Excited

I know, its three seasons away, and with the money Jeffrey Loria has that he isn’t spending, it seems ridiculous that we’d even have to wait that long for a another playoff berth, and we might not, but by 2013 this team will be one of the most potent in all of baseball.

They will continue to compete this year and will have similar seasons for the next two years, be in it until middle of September but never really have a solid chance.

The Braves look like they might have a few years of power in them and the Phillies will continue to be a contender, but by 2013, look for the Fish to be a serious NL powerhouse.

By that time, they’ll have moved into their fancy new ballpark and maybe actually draw some fans to their games. This is my ideal roster for 2013. Granted, they make make moves and lose/bring in names that could shake this up but just using the current roster and prospects now, take a look:

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5 Things the Marlins Need to do to get to the Playoffs

The Marlins are having a rather poor season but don’t count them out of the Playoff hunt yet, they are just one winning streak away from being in the reach of their first playoff appearance since 2003.

But after a sweep by the Reds, the Marlins need to make serious adjustments in order to stay alive and keep their playoff hopes alive.

Here are the 5 thing that the Marlins are going to have to do to get to the postseason.

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Fantasy Baseball: Chris Coghlan To the DL, Logan Morrison Called Up

Just when you thought you’ve seen it all. BAM!

The latest injury: a torn meniscus during the now common celebratory pie to the face.

That is the unfortunate fate suffered by the pie giver, Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan.

There is no question this ranks amongst the most bizarre/embarrassing injuries of all time, but how does it impact fantasy circles?

After a red hot .377 and 30-run June, Coghlan reverted back to his April form in July hitting .209 with one RBI.

He’ll miss six to eight weeks, but regardless, his deficient production and wild inconsistency made him a nearly unreliable fantasy option in thinner leagues.

The Marlins have promoted sterling prospect Logan Morrison to the big club to replace Coghlan on the active roster.

A first baseman by trade, Morrison’s 2010 call up had been thwarted to this point by the excellent play of Gaby Sanchez.

At one time trading Sanchez to clear the path for Morrison seemed like a viable option for the Marlins, but that seems far-fetched now with his .301, 11 HR, 45 RBI stat line.

Sanchez played some third base in the minors, and a return to the hot corner could be entertained—but not mid-season.

Morrison is expected to split time in left field with Emilio Bonifacio in the immediate future. If Jorge Cantu is dealt prior to the July 31 deadline, Bonifiacio could be moved to third base and open regular playing time in the outfield.

Morrison played seven games in the outfield for Triple-A New Orleans prior to Coghlan’s injury, so expect the Marlins to be wheelers and dealers this week.

Morrison is an excellent athlete for his size (6’3″, 235 pounds), but it’s unclear whether he can hold his own defensively in the outfield. One thing that is abundantly clear is his mastery in the batter’s box.

He was hitting .307 with six home runs and 45 RBI in the Pacific Coast League prior to getting the call. He injured his shoulder (collision) in May and has played in just 68 games.

He’s incredibly seasoned for a 22-year-old, drawing 48 walks against only 35 strikeouts. A left-handed stick, he hit .314 in 70 at-bats against left-handed pitching.

If the numbers are any indication, Morrison should make a swift adjustment to big league pitching.

Bottom Line:

1. Coghlan is not in danger of losing a starting job when healthy. Despite his on/off play in 2010, he possesses excellent bat control and provides versatility defensively. He can see time at second or third base and left field. However, none of these qualities help the fantasy owner.

2. If Morrison hits, he’s going to play. Bonifacio was wallowing in the minors for good reason. He provides a speed element, but his plate discipline, or lack thereof, will be exposed over the course of regular at-bats. He has yet to draw a walk in 2010. The Fish didn’t call up Morrison to sit and disrupt his maturation. 

3. Who bats leadoff when Bonifacio sits? Does Hanley occupy that spot? If so, this injury could have a confounding effect on his fantasy value and run production.

4. Roster assembly issues likely won’t come into play until 2011. The aftermath of the trade deadline could change matters, but it’s a good bet Sanchez will be taking grounders at third base come spring training.

Written by Adam Ganeles exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com.  Adam is the epitome of awesome and anyone who doubts it can take it up with him personally on any street corner at any time.

Think Logan Morrison can make it in the BIGS?
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