Aug 30, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Kansas City Royals second baseman Emilio Bonifacio (64) lays down a sacrifice bunt in the eighth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays beat the Royals 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Royals Foolishly Release Emilio Bonifacio


Now that we know that Emilio Bonifacio signed with the Cubs on a minor league deal, we know just how foolish the entire series of ordeals regarding the Royals and Emilio Bonifacio really was.

Until last week, Kansas City Royals General Manager Dayton Moore cruised through the off-season, wheeling and dealing, seemingly making the most of a limited budget and stuffed roster.

After a momentary lapse in judgement and trading backup catcher George Kottaras for cash, Moore picked up reliable 200-inning starter, Jason Vargas.

Shortly after, he acquired a leadoff-hitting right fielder in Norichika Aoki and, after years of nurturing a lost cause at second base, he went out and signed free agent second baseman Omar Infante to a four year deal.

Even his minor moves seemed fine. Moore signed twenty-seven year old outfielder Carlos Peguero to a minor league deal and even corrected his mistake with Kottaras by signing veteran catcher Ramon Hernandez.

Things were looking up.

…and then February happened.

The prospect of getting 14 inches of snow in the next week must have set Dayton Moore on edge, because he started making deals that shouldn’t have been made. He signed Bruce Chen to a one year deal, for $3.25 million and another million guaranteed. Signing Chen was redundant to say the least.

The Royals already had swing-man/spot-starter Wade Davis. They already had middle-reliever Luke Hochevar. They have left-handers Donnie Joseph, Tim Collins, Chris Dwyer, and Buddy Baumann…oh, also, Ryan Verdugo, Francisley Bueno and Everett Teaford even.

Worse still, most believed that Chen would get a middle-reliever’s salary or a minor league deal. Instead, he got a few million more as well as a(n all but) guaranteed spot in the rotation.

The team finally showed that they had a hard payroll cap at $90 million. To sign a player for $3 million, the Kansas City Royals had to free up that $3M in payroll. Instead of trading an expensive bullpen arm in an otherwise stacked bullpen, the Royals DFA’d switch-hitting super-utility speedster Emilio Bonifacio.

Now, this had not turned to travesty yet. Bonifacio commanded a hefty $3.5 million dollar salary that the Royals, against their better judgement, agreed to just weeks before. He was expected to enter the season as an expensive backup. He also had been generating trade interest since the beginning of December. Unloading him was never out of the question and unsurprising when they designated him for assignment.

As the Kansas City Star’s Blair Kerkhoff stated:

The Royals and Bonifacio avoided arbitration two weeks ago by agreeing to a one-year, $3.5 million contract, though it is not fully guaranteed. By designating Bonifacio for assignment, the Royals have several options, including trading him.

Insiders expected Bonifacio to be traded because of the healthy interest in him from other teams.

The strength of the decision relied on what return the Royals would receive for Bonifacio. If the Royals traded him for a couple of middling prospects, that would be fine. Even money and a prospect would be fine. A backup catcher wouldn’t have been a bad thing. Lots of teams were interested so there was no reason to worry.

Well, they didn’t trade him and the Royals are on the hook for $575,000 of his salary.

This series of Tweets from MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo tells the story of ineptness.

 

 

 

After refusing to trade Bonifacio, despite immense interest, General Manager Dayton Moore managed to flunk a deal so badly that he didn’t get anything in return AND had to pay $575K so that Bonifacio could play another team. Trading him for peanuts in December would have been fine, but Dayton Moore demanded the moon. He didn’t even change his tune when the Royals absolutely, positively needed to unload him before the 48 hour release deadline.

If Dayton Moore continues to make foolish decisions like this, the finite amount of resources that David Glass had allowed him to distribute will be wasted and the Royals will fall a few games short of their best chance at the playoffs in decades.

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  • Chad Woelk

    Not upset about this at all. I would take Chen over Bono all day. Hoping that Colon has a great spring and beats our Ciraco. It also appears the Royals are still in talks with Santana according to Heyman so I can keep hope alive!!!

  • Joel Wagler

    Totally agree. Dayton can’t get out of his own way. Inexplicable decisions int the handling of the Bonifacio situation.

  • Tyler_KC_Fan

    So what you’re saying is the lose of Bonifacio is the reason we wont make playoffs this year? Not to rain on your “oh no! we suck again!” parade, but look at what we have on the team. We have a back-up 3B in Valencia incase Moose starts to fall apart. We have Esky at SS and Infante at 2B and Bonifacio played more 2B than anything because we didn’t have a 2B…but we do now. Bonifacio could play outfield too…but we have Gordon, Cain, Aoki, Maxwell and Dyson.

    Now, as much as I would have liked to have seen someone who is a legitimate #2 starter signed, we got Chen. Chen is a proven vet that can hold a starting spot until Ventura is 100% ready to get called up. Then he goes to the BP.

    Joseph, Bueno, Teaford, Verdugo and who ever else aren’t going to be in the opening day BP and would only be called up when we move from a 25-man roster to a 40-man roster. We have Collins, Crow, Herrera, Holland, Hoch, Davis and Coleman who are in the BP before any of those guys are.

    Now before you say anything about Chen moving to the BP, Ventura most likely wont get called up untill the ASB unless Chen just does absolutely terrible. Once Ventura gets called up, obviously the team will make some trades and most likely Hoch or Davis will be gone. Chen takes one of those spots and Ventura takes Chen’s spot in the rotation. Seems like a pretty legitimate idea.

    So before we start lighting the torches and sharpening the pitch forks, look at what we have gotten this offseason. We established a 2B who we locked up for 4 years. We have a legitimate lead-off man in Aoki and he fills our hole in RF. We traded Lough for a 3B who would do just fine filling in for Moose if he needs to rest. Hayes is still with the team an he’s a pretty solid backup catcher as well. We got the kid from SEA who has a lot of upside and Colon may take Ciriaco’s spot opening day. We signed a quality starting pitcher who is a soft thrower that could be very effective with the rotation we have and the defense we have.

    If I was to look at everything he has done and the franchise has done this offseason, losing Bonifacio is NOT the end all be all death wish. Yes, he is effective as a utility player and he’s fast. Yes, he did pretty good with the team while we had him. Do we need him though? No. Does it suck that we have to pay him nearly $600K Yes. But I don’t think we are anywhere near ready to run Dayton Moore out of town. In fact, I think he might have earned himself a little more time. I think the Royals improve a sigificant amount and they have a legitimate chance to make the playoffs this year.

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