Kansas City Royals Foolishly Release Emilio Bonifacio


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

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.