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February 2014

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COMMENTS

Mailbag – How Key Was the Bonifacio Signing?

Written by , Posted in General

It’s Monday. What does that mean? Another edition of the Monday mailbag, of course. Just one question in the bag today, which means you guys aren’t doing your job. Please send some questions to viewfromthebleachers@gmail.com and we’ll answer them. Let’s get right to it.

“Does the Cubs signing of Emilio Bonifacio spell the end for Darwin Barney? How likely is it that he makes the opening day roster?” ~Jim in Syracuse, NY

This is a great question, Jim. In fact, it was one that we’ll address on the podcast tonight so make sure you subscribe to us in iTunes. While it’s easy to look at the signing and say it is huge, I think you have to temper the expectations dramatically. Let’s not forget that there is always a reason a team is willing to simply eat a contract and release a player. You don’t just do that for no reason. Personally. I think the signing is all that significant and I don’t think he’ll make the team out spring training. I saw a lot of people praising the signing because of his speed, but you have to get on base to steal a base and that’s something he doesn’t do very well. His best year was 2011 and he hasn’t really been any good since. Maybe he’ll prove me wrong, but I’d rather see a guy like Logan Watkins or even Arismendy Alcantara get that last infield spot, assuming we see Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, Darwin Barney and a pick two of Luis Valbuena, Donnie Murphy, and Mike Olt are “locks”.

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  • LVCubFan

    I like it, but it’s basically getting a Rich Man’s Tony Campana.

    • Noah_I

      Bonifacio has significantly more upside than Campana because Bonifacio at least has some history showing he might be able to get on base, and he can play nearly every position on the field. Bonifacio could be a utility player on the team, getting time at second and the outfield positions, but I don’t think he’s someone who would flat out supplant a starter at this juncture.

      Another decent no risk, medium upside reward. If he surprises and puts together a decent half season, the Cubs might be able to trade him away from something when Alcantara or Baez are ready. If he doesn’t surprise and never makes the big league roster, really no harm is done.

    • Noah_I

      Bonifacio has significantly more upside than Campana because Bonifacio at least has some history showing he might be able to get on base, and he can play nearly every position on the field. Bonifacio could be a utility player on the team, getting time at second and the outfield positions, but I don’t think he’s someone who would flat out supplant a starter at this juncture.

      Another decent no risk, medium upside reward. If he surprises and puts together a decent half season, the Cubs might be able to trade him away from something when Alcantara or Baez are ready. If he doesn’t surprise and never makes the big league roster, really no harm is done.

  • We’re now a shoo-in to take the Central.

  • Noah_I

    Alcantara should definitively not be on the Cubs as a backup infielder. He needs regular plate appearances, which he would not get on Major League roster, and needs some time in Triple A.

    Logan Watkins is a more interesting candidate, but I’d also rather see Watkins getting more regular repetitions than he would at the MLB level. Watkins might get to play once a week or so for the Cubs, spelling Barney at 2B or Lake in LF against RHPs, but aside from that would likely just be a pinch hitter/pinch runner. Even with the logjam at a bunch of positions in Iowa, Watkins’ ability to play essentially every position would probably let him play 5 games a week there. He’s still enough of a prospect, at least as a utility player, that I want to see him get regular plate appearances. I’d also like to see if he could get his batting average back up to the .270-.280 range in the PCL, where he sat in High A and Double A, as compared to the .243 average he put up last season.

    If a former prospect is going to get that last infielder/utility guy role, I’d rather it be Vitters. Vitters can’t play 2B or CF like Watkins can, but his right handed bat would make him options at 3B and RF against left handed pitchers, he could share time in LF with Lake against RHPs, and could spell Rizzo occasionally at 1B.

    To start the season, though, I might prefer to have the guys signed to minor league contracts filling those last spots on the team, while getting the Vitters/Watkins/Brett Jackson types regular plate appearances in Iowa.

    Also, if Olt makes the team out of spring training, which he would only do as the starting 3B, it would likely make this all moot. Valbuena and Barney would likely platoon at 2B, with Murphy as the sixth infielder who could also play in the outfield corners a bit.

  • Noah_I

    Alcantara should definitively not be on the Cubs as a backup infielder. He needs regular plate appearances, which he would not get on Major League roster, and needs some time in Triple A.

    Logan Watkins is a more interesting candidate, but I’d also rather see Watkins getting more regular repetitions than he would at the MLB level. Watkins might get to play once a week or so for the Cubs, spelling Barney at 2B or Lake in LF against RHPs, but aside from that would likely just be a pinch hitter/pinch runner. Even with the logjam at a bunch of positions in Iowa, Watkins’ ability to play essentially every position would probably let him play 5 games a week there. He’s still enough of a prospect, at least as a utility player, that I want to see him get regular plate appearances. I’d also like to see if he could get his batting average back up to the .270-.280 range in the PCL, where he sat in High A and Double A, as compared to the .243 average he put up last season.

    If a former prospect is going to get that last infielder/utility guy role, I’d rather it be Vitters. Vitters can’t play 2B or CF like Watkins can, but his right handed bat would make him options at 3B and RF against left handed pitchers, he could share time in LF with Lake against RHPs, and could spell Rizzo occasionally at 1B.

    To start the season, though, I might prefer to have the guys signed to minor league contracts filling those last spots on the team, while getting the Vitters/Watkins/Brett Jackson types regular plate appearances in Iowa.

    Also, if Olt makes the team out of spring training, which he would only do as the starting 3B, it would likely make this all moot. Valbuena and Barney would likely platoon at 2B, with Murphy as the sixth infielder who could also play in the outfield corners a bit.

  • Doc Raker

    The real question is can Emilio Bonifacio steal Katie’s heart the way Tony did? That’s what I want to know.

  • Doc Raker

    The real question is can Emilio Bonifacio steal Katie’s heart the way Tony did? That’s what I want to know.