by John Viril—
Today, the Kansas City Royals made their second waiver-wire deal in four days. Desperate for second base help after Miguel Tejada’s injury last Saturday, the Royals traded for yet another second baseman by acquiring Emilio Bonifacio from the Toronto Blue Jays. This move comes after they had traded with the Twins for 2B Jamey Carroll on Sunday. Like the Carroll deal, the Royals pledged a player to be named later, or cash, as consideration for the trade.
To make room for Bonifacio on the 40 man roster, the Royals moved Tejada to the 60-day disabled list—making him ineligible to return for the rest of the regular season.
Like Carroll, Bonifacio was available because he has struggled this season. Bonifacio adds yet another middle infielder with an OPS under .600 to the Royals roster (.218/.258/.321). It’s almost as if GM Dayton Moore is collecting as many veteran 2B as he can find, in the hope that he can find ONE that gets hot down the stretch.
Unlike the 39-year-0ld Carroll, Bonifacio seems like a more permanent solution. Bonifacio is 28, and is signed through next season. While he has scuffled in 2013, Bonifacio’s career line is a much more acceptable .261/.319/.340 and he hit for an OPS+ of 107 as recently as 2011 for the Marlins. Bonifacio is versatile as well. Not only has he apeared at 2B, SS, and 3B in his career, he has also played all three outfield positions. Even if Bonifacio cannot hold down a starting position long-term, he would be an upgrade over Elliot Johnson as a utility player. Bonifacio is also the older brother of top Royals prospect Jorge Bonifacio, who is a 20-year-old outfielder at NW Arkansas.
This flurry of moves, however, also reveals the lack of faith Moore has in 2B prospects Johnny Giavotella and Christian Colon. Giavotella returned from the AAA DL and went 5-5 in his first night playing the in the field since his injury. Christian Colon has been crushing the ball in the 2nd half, with a .355/.429/.570 line since the AAA All-Star break. Apparently, Moore and manager Ned Yost have no tolerance for rookie mistakes during a pennant race—even if the young players have far more upside than weak-hitting veterans.
Since both the Carroll and Bonifacio deals were consumated for future consideration, we cannot know the cost of these additions until after the season. We can only hope that Dayton Moore did not pay too dear a price in his attempts to find a hot bat at second.
Losing Tejada is a blow to the Royals playoff hopes. The team will have to find some way to stabilize 2B if they hope to make the post-season.
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