The Toronto Blue Jays have been, to put it kindly, a bit of a mess on the field so far this spring.
Yes, there’s a reason why they call it Spring Training, but when a team happen to be leading the league in errors after nine games, saying “it’s just spring” will only get them so far.
That’s the position that the Blue Jays are finding themselves in right now just as players are starting to leave for the World Baseball Classic. Toronto leads the majors with a whopping 16 errors, which comes to just a little under a pair of them per game.
It doesn’t matter how unimportant the final result on the score board is – that’s not a good number to look at.
In fact, the team has played just a single game all spring that hasn’t involved some sort of mishap on the field. The biggest culprit? Emilio Bonifacio, the team’s super-utility man who is competing with Maicer Izturis for the Blue Jays’ second base job.
Bonifacio, starting at shortstop on Sunday, committed his fourth error of the spring on yet another bad throw on what should have been an easy double-play turn to second, tossing the ball past his partner and into right field.
He was bailed out on the play by his infield partner after Izturis nailed Yuniesky Betacourt napping on the basepaths, but at this point of the season, that Bonifacio is having this much trouble with fielding is something that the team should be concerned with, especially when they may be relying on him to fill in at multiple positions.
The four errors, by the way, is as many as the 27-year old has had over in his first six major league camps put together.
So no, this isn’t just business as usual.
On the other hand, Bonifacio is at least winning the hearts of Blue Jays fans early with his dynamic ability to generate offense. He bunted for a hit in his first at-bat on Sunday, then proceeded to nab a pair of steals on his way to third, forcing Philadelphia Phillies catcher Erik Kratz to make a bad throw that allowed him to score.
The Blue Jays knew they were getting that kind of speed when they traded for Bonifacio, and as long as he can be a one-man offensive machine, there’s going to be plenty of ways that he can provide value for the team in 2013.
If he wants a starting job on Opening Day, though, he’s going to have to get his fielding together in a hurry.