In an under the radar move, the Kansas City Royals acquired Emilio Bonifacio from the Toronto Blue Jays on August 14. At the time, Bonifacio was hitting .218 with Toronto and had a .258 OBP with 12 stolen bases in 94 games. For a player that lives off of his speed and ability to put the ball on the ground, Bonifacio was not able to get anything going in Toronto the way he did for the Miami Marlins.
Since his trade to the Royals, he has hit .291 with a .361 OBP and has 15 steals in 38 games. Since he became the regular second baseman for the Royals on August 25, they have gone 19-9 and are within three games of the final wild card spot held down by the Cleveland Indians.
These numbers for Bonifacio are not a fluke. In 2011, he hit .296 with a .360 OBP and stole 40 bases for the Marlins in 152 games. He also recorded a 26 game hit streak during that season and won Player of the Month in the National League for July. Although he has the ability to play above average defense at every position on the field, he performs better when he is locked down at one position and in the lineup every day.
It is not a coincidence that the Royals have performed well in the last month with Bonifacio at second base. The speed he brings on the field as well as the energy he provides in the clubhouse can bring a team together. On Monday night against the Seattle Mariners he went 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI. In the 8th inning with the Royals down 3-2, he delivered a game tying RBI single and moved the go ahead run to third base. That run scored when Bonifacio broke up a double play on a grounder hit by Eric Hosmer and the Royals went up 4-3. In the 12th inning with the game tied at five, Alex Gordon led the inning off by walking and Bonifacio followed by bunting him into scoring position. Gordon ended up scoring the winning run that inning and keeping the Royals alive for the postseason.
Although the Royals may come up short this season, the spark Bonifacio has provided should carry them into a better position to make the playoffs next year.