The future of Ryan Goins with the Toronto Blue Jays could hang in the balance as they navigate the July 31st Trade Deadline
The Toronto Blue Jays are looking to add as they approach the July 31st Trade Deadline. At least, that is what the front office continues to tell us. And, we have to assume that they are telling us the truth. It is possible that they are trying to pander to a fan base, but the way the roster is constructed, efforts need to be made to capitalize on the window that presents itself.
That means that upgrades are in order. That could prove to be a difficult task as, when healthy, this roster has solid pieces in many of its positions. The argument can be made that left field and second base are the most glaring areas of need. Some would say the bullpen could use some help, but if we’re looking at the area that is most dire, it is left field and second base. Filling those spots also impacts the offense, making it much more important.
Right now, the Blue Jays are relying on Ezequiel Carrera (wRC+: 100/ fWAR: 0.5) and Steve Pearce (wRC+: 92/ fWAR: -0.3) in left. Their defense has combined to be worth -15 DRS, which would point to an obvious need to upgrade. Offensively speaking, though, the need isn’t dire. With an upgrade elsewhere, Toronto could roll with the combination of these two. But, defensively, they could benefit from even a league average defender in left.
In the infield, thanks to Devon Travis’ injury, the Blue Jays are forced to use Darwin Barney (wRC+: 52/ fWAR: -0.4) and Ryan Goins (wRC+: 57/ fWAR: -0.7). These numbers would suggest that finding an upgrade at second base is a priority. Known for his defense, Goins has been worth -5 DRS in total this year (his totals at 3B and 2B amount to 0 DRS). Barney has given the club -4 DRS between 2B and 3B (his time at SS gave 0 DRS). So, defensively speaking, perhaps the infield doesn’t look so bad.
Considering the struggles this team has had offensively, it would behoove the Blue Jays to seek an upgrade at second base. They cannot bank on Travis returning to full capacity this season. And, they cannot bank on the Goins/Barney combo to be enough to compete.
Should the Blue Jays go the ‘upgrade at second’ route, Ryan Goins very much is on the bubble. He is out of options, which means the club would have to expose him to waivers. Any team looking to upgrade defensively might be willing to sacrifice a bit of offense…maybe. He could represent a late inning defensive substitution. But, he’s the hitter that you need a late inning pinch hitter for and too many times, we’ve seen a lack of options make this impossible. The issue in Toronto is that he is seeing way more playing time than originally planned. The question you should be asking is: if Barney and Goins are roughly the same player, why is Goins the one on the bubble?
|Darwin Barney||Ryan Goins|
In short, Barney represents a hitter that will make more contact and put the ball in play. Looking at Goins’ directional hitting, it shows a left handed batter who pulls very few pitches. Whether that means he can’t get around on offerings is a subject for another day. The argument could be made that Goins makes more hard contact, but at the end of the day, if you want a bench bat, you want a guy who can put the ball in play and Barney does that more than Goins does.
If the Blue Jays end up with an improvement at second base, Goins could see his time in Toronto come to an end. Of course, he could pass through waivers and end up in Buffalo and then wait for two months and come back up when rosters expand in September. But, upgrading at second base isn’t the only way Goins ends up off this roster.
If the Blue Jays decide that left field provides them with a better upgrade, Goins still could find himself in trouble. Let’s just throw out a ridiculous and improbable hypothetical, here: let’s say the Blue Jays trade for Andrew McCutchen, who is having a nice year and is likely on the block. That would push Pearce and Carrera down the line.
As ugly as it might be, Pearce could be a second base option since the team will not want to lose his bat in the lineup. For what it’s worth, he has a total of 242.2 innings at second base (in 2015 & 2016) and put up -2 DRS. It is not an ideal, or even preferable, situation, obviously, but Pearce’s bat isn’t going anywhere. Carrera has proven himself to be a bench bat that can come in late in certain situations. A move like this would allow for his bat to be used how it should be – not everyday. Since Barney can play third and short stop, the team has themselves a backup infielder.
Pearce, Carrera and Barney all present options to be used in varying platoons and scenarios. Goins looks to be redundant. It is for that reason that, one way or another, he could be seeing his time in Toronto come to an end. Any positional upgrade pushes the Blue Jays into making a decision about removing Goins from the roster. They could even look to include him in part of any Deadline deal, which would allow them to not have to risk losing him on waivers.
There are no guarantees at this time of year. Surprises happen all the time. This whole post very well could prove to be incorrect. The Blue Jays could pull off some upgrades and Goins could survive the process. If there is one thing we’ve learned it is to never make assumptions about his position on this team. Ryan Goins has managed to hang on to a spot on the Blue Jays roster year after year. But, this very well could be the time his luck runs out.
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