Toronto Blue Jays Miraculously Recover Some Value With Trade Of Emilio Bonifacio

By Thom Tsang
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

“Hey, Dayton Moore, are you guys interested in a -0.4 fWAR, .579 OPS utility man by the name of Emilio Bonifacio? Wait, what do you mean what the cost i … I mean, yes, it’s going to cost you something, sure.”

Though that’s probably not how Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos‘ conversation with his Kansas City Royals compatriot went, it doesn’t exactly seem unfeasible either. After all, of all of the players that the bluebirds could have dealt in a waiver trade in August, Bonifacio was arguably the least likely of them.

But to get a cash considerations or a PTBNL for what has been months of sub-par, below replacement production? Yes please.

And so, the Emilio Bonifacio-in-center era has ended before it ever truly got a chance to start. The 28-year-old may not have been the biggest piece in Toronto’s offseason blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins, but that didn’t stop him from arguably being its biggest failure (that’s saying a lot, considering the state that the once again DL-ed Josh Johnson is at).

Not being able to field (0.6 fielding runs below average), hit (.218/.258/.321), or even lay down a proper bunt, the utility man came to Toronto with the promise of being a Swiss army knife off the bench, and turned out to have little but a bunch of busted tools. He did end up stealing 12 bases in 282 PA, but at at 66.7 percent success rate, even his best asset was somewhat underwhelming.

So it should come with a bit of surprise that a surging Royals team would want a player like this off the bench, and so much so that they’re willing to give up, well, anything for him.

But that they did, and the Blue Jays are undoubtedly happy to move on from one chapter from the 2013 debacle, even if Colby Rasmus — who was just day-to-day yesterday — finally landed on the DL. Of course. Still, the surprise result from the Bonifacio trade may not actually be the trade itself.

Instead, it’s that the team has decided to move Rajai Davis to center field, while calling up Kevin Pillar from triple-A Buffalo to be the everyday left fielder for the time being.

One might have assumed that the call would have gone to center fielder Anthony Gose, but the Blue Jays appear to have liked Pillar’s .299/.341/.493 line through 218 PA in the highest level of the minors enough to give him the first crack at it. Being 24-years old, it’s no as though Pillar is particularly young, though it’s worth pointing out that he did not play past advanced-A until 2013.

A speedy outfielder with a good hit tool, Pillar will make his MLB debut on Wednesday. Considering the guy who just left town, though, it’s hard to say that this exactly what you’d call a high-pressure debut.

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