While the Toronto Blue Jays need to address their infield depth situation this winter, it doesn’t mean that Ryan Goins has to stay
The Toronto Blue Jays definitely need to address their middle infield situation. They definitely need to prepare for the somewhat inevitable situation they’ll find themselves in should Troy Tulowitzki and/or Devon Travis not be able fulfill their everyday duties again in 2017. They definitely need someone who can fill in multiple infield positions and someone who is capable of being an everyday player. But, that is definitely not Ryan Goins.
Before we go any further, there needs to be an acknowledgement that Ryan Goins deserves the utmost respect. He has been asked to fill in several different positions over the last couple of years, including taking the mound, which cost him some time on the DL. He literally put himself out to help his team. Goins has done everything the Toronto Blue Jays have asked him to do and has earned the love and respect of his teammates as well as a good number of fans. However, as written previously, Goins is a bench player being asked to do too much. The end results have not been pretty.
Here we are looking ahead to an offseason where the Blue Jays have a lot of work to do to live up to their own stated goal of competing in 2018. Because there is so much work to do, and a lot of it has to do with the middle infield, there might be some temptation to think that Toronto needs to keep Goins on the roster. That is just not true.
Respectfully, there is nothing that would indicate that Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro must keep Goins around. The immediate response is: Why would they? We have seen enough evidence to know what Goins is. He’s a career .228 hitter that has put up a wRC+ value of 63. Fans of his would tell you that he just needs regular playing time. But, we’ve seen that be proven to be incorrect. 2017 saw Goins play more games than he has ever played. In 143 contests, he put up a wRC+ of 69 while hitting .237 with an OPS of .643. Sure, he hit a career high 9 HR and drove in 62 RBI. Oh, and don’t forget how ‘clutch’ he was…
But, the truth is Goins lefty bat is just not reliable. And, his defense is not as great as everyone makes it out to be. Head to Fangraphs and take a look for yourself. So, the reality is that Ryan Goins has done nothing to make anyone think the Blue Jays NEED him in 2018. Their lack of security in the middle infield actually just serves to underscore how badly this team needs something better than Goins.
Goins is set to hit arbitration and, while he’ll see a raise from the league minimum, he will still be rather affordable. So, one can see why he might be someone to consider keeping around. But, again, if the Blue Jays want to really provide themselves with security, and they feel that addressing the middle infield is a priority, they should be OK with paying more for it. You get what you pay for.
It is for that reason that they should look for alternatives. No one should be convinced that there aren’t better solutions available. In a Jays From the Couch piece on why we shouldn’t dream on Andrew McCutchen, we found out that Josh Harrison just might be very available. Harrison provides more versatility than Goins as he can play SS, 2B, 3B and the outfield. And, he’s a better hitter. Period. Well, he hits from the right side, so one supposes Goins has that over Harrison. Regardless, the Pirates could look to get out from under Harrison’s contract, which pays him $10M in 2018 (he has two team options after that). That means the cost to obtain him could be kept quite palatable. $10M is a very nice deal for a guy who can put up 2 fWAR and play all over the diamond.
But, let’s say that Harrison is not an option. Depending on whether the Blue Jays want a one year stop gap until Lourdes Gurriel or Richard Urena or Bo Bichette are possibly ready or they want a longer term solution, guys like Howie Kendrick, Brandon Phillips, Zack Cozart, Eduardo Nunez or even Yunel Escobar could provide varying degrees of value for this team. And, one could argue they all would offer more than Goins.
If free agency isn’t appealing, the trade market could open up even more options. It has been written on this site that Dee Gordon should be a priority. It has also been written on this site that it is a good idea to call up the good people in Arizona and ask them about Ketel Marte. These are just two examples of trade targets that could make sense. It might be a fools errand to attempt to guess every single possible trade scenario that could exist. The point is that there are several.
So, the idea of having to keep Ryan Goins is rather…incorrect. The Toronto Blue Jays can move on from a player that has given them very little production and still compete in 2018. In fact, moving on from Ryan Goins could actually help.
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