The Kansas City Royals designated 29-year-old Emilio Bonifacio for assignment yesterday. A few Mets fans have suggested Bonifacio could be a fit for the team. Our friends over at The Good Phight think Bonifacio could be a good fit for the Phillies, too.
Bonifacio is a familiar name in the National League East, as he spent part of 2008 with the Nationals and played for the Marlins from 2009 through 2012. Before the 2013 season, he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays with John Buck, Mark Buerhle, Josh Johnson, and Jose Reyes. The Royals picked him up from Toronto in August.
For his career, Bonifacio has done little at the plate. With a .262/.322/.340 slash line that equates to a .297 wOBA an 80 wRC+, he's been a liability as a hitter. He's a switch hitter and has been very slightly more effective against left-handed pitchers than right-handed pitchers. His best asset is undoubtedly his speed, as he's stolen 138 bases at a success rate of 79.3 percent over the course of his career.
Those stats might sound familiar, as Eric Young Jr. has a .299 wOBA and 77 wRC+ for his career. He's stolen 108 bases at a success rate of 80 percent. And he's a switch hitter who has very little in the way of platoon splits. If Bonifacio and Young were on the same roster, they might be two of the most redundant hitters in baseball history.
The only real difference between the two is the positions they play. Bonifacio has primarily played second base but has seen some time at third, shortstop, and all three of the outfield positions. The samples are small for several of those positions, but Defensive Runs Saved has rated him well at second, roughly average at third, and below average in short and in the outfield. Young has played mostly in the outfield and a bit at second base, though his outfield play has been better.
It's hard to see Bonifacio as a player for whom the Mets should trade. Even if the Mets could claim him on waivers, he's set to make $3.5 million this year. But if he clears waivers and can be had for the league minimum salary, sure, the Mets could bring him in for depth. With Ruben Tejada penciled in at shortstop at the moment, he'd probably be a better bench option than Omar Quintanilla or Wilfredo Tovar.