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Blue Jays second base job “up for grabs” between Maicer Izturis and Emilio Bonifacio

Feb 18, 2013, 11:51 AM EDT

San Diego Padres v Miami Marlins Getty Images

When the Blue Jays signed Maicer Izturis to a three-year deal, $9 million deal in November the assumption was that he’d be their starting second baseman, but then two weeks later Toronto pulled off the blockbuster trade with Miami that brought in another option for the position in Emilio Bonifacio.

Yesterday manager John Gibbons told reporters that the position “is up for grabs” and “we’ll see how it plays out.”

Gibbons did admit to John Lott of the National Post that Izturis is the front-runner because he has more experience as a middle infielder–3,500 career innings, compared to 1,300 for Bonifacio–but it sounds likely that neither guy will be an everyday starter there.

Also of note: According to Lott general manager Alex Anthopoulos “indicated that he might not have signed Izturis to a three-year contract if he had known in advance that he could pull off a blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins.”

  1. proudlycanadian - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    LOL Aaron. Spot your mistake. How soon will it be before you correct the name of the Jay’s manager?

    • proudlycanadian - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:03 PM

      Aaron wrote John Farrell in paragraph 2 and Gibbons in paragraph 3. Will the real Blue Jays manager please stand up?

      • cur68 - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:30 PM

        Saw that. Pretty funny, actually. Farrell WISHES he had these problems instead of the ones he DOES have (see Aceves, Alfredo).

        Gibbons will let them play for it, of course. If I recall Gibbons’s tendencies from when he was last manager, he was a “work the walk” kind of manager. So the qualified candidate will be “he who’s OBP is the best and isn’t Derek Jeter with the range”. The qualified candidate must be able to walk about as often as he makes an out at the plate. This’ll be fun.

  2. micksmantle - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    Cool. Two utility infielders competing for a starting job. Beasts of the AL East alright.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Feb 18, 2013 at 3:54 PM

      exactly, two utility infielders, does it really matter which one wins? talk about a non story

      • jaysjunkie - Feb 19, 2013 at 1:30 AM

        Holy sh*t! Is that a dirtyharry comment in a Blue Jays post that doesn’t completely denigrate the team, city, or country they play in? That’s a first, I believe.

  3. mudhead123 - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    Blue Jays… Haha

    • proudlycanadian - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:24 PM

      The real joke is John Farrell’s present team.

  4. jaybird22seven - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    Good call proudlyCanadian !!! Lol

  5. Mark - Feb 18, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    It’s not much of a competition when Izturis is a hell of a lot better than Bonifacio.

  6. Old Gator - Feb 18, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    I haven’t watched Izturis much but Bonifacio with the Feesh was a competent at best infielder and a much better outfielder. His real value to the Feather Lice will be as a pesky early-order hitter who can keep the infielders pinned to the edge of the infield turf and as a distraction on the basepaths. I think the Toronto crowd will wind up taking him to heart.

  7. mathieug79 - Feb 18, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Bonifacio is so underrated, I would consider him the dark horse in the Miami trade. I sure hopes he proves everyone wrong. He’s used to turning double play with Reyes, he can also play outfield. I think he gets the 2B job, and Izturis who can play better ‘D’ at all infield position, will serves as Reyes, Lawrie, days off. When outfielders need days off, look for Bonifacio to play there and Izturis to serve as the 2nd basemen. This way Izturis will play more than he did for the Angels, and we get a .300 hitter with plus speed as our everyday 2B. I would like to see him hit #9, in front of Reyes, or even #2 if Cabrera struggles.

    • cur68 - Feb 18, 2013 at 2:39 PM

      Just looking at the numbers. Seems Izturis has the better numbers but there might be some truth to Bonifacio being underrated. Izturis is 32 going to 33. Bonifacio is 27 going to 28. Of the two its Bonifacio who has the better chance of improving overall. It wouldn’t take much for him to get close to Izturis’ numbers, since they are no screaming heck either. Its a pretty nice problem to have: either one of these guys could have a nice season with a solid team around them. I like how they could be used to relieve the other guys. Since Brett Lawrie plays like he’s The Ultimate Baseball Warrior, he’ll need days off to recover from trying to run through steel. Spring training will be fun, eh?

    • paperlions - Feb 18, 2013 at 2:54 PM

      Bonifacio plays bad defense and can’t hit a lick. Izturis plays good defense and hits better. If the Jays are really going to let 50 or so PAs in ST determine who “wins” the job….they have problems with their process.

      • cur68 - Feb 18, 2013 at 3:16 PM

        Those are absolute statements and neglect Izturis’s age. He’s likely going to get worse, not better. In the one season, 2011, where Bonifacio had >600 PAs (something Izturis has never done: injuries, if I recall) he did rather well:
        BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, OPS+
        .296 .360 .393 .753 107

        I like his chances.

      • paperlions - Feb 18, 2013 at 3:20 PM

        Yes, if Bonifacio can replicate that .372 BABIP, he’s a useful player….but he is so bad that he couldn’t even start at 2B for the Cardinals.

      • paperlions - Feb 18, 2013 at 3:22 PM

        I doubt either guy was acquired with the intention that he be a full time starter. Neither is good enough….I always thought the deal for Izturis was long and weird.

      • cur68 - Feb 18, 2013 at 3:23 PM

        Lets have this discussion again in a few months. I’m going to be paying some attention to this kid and I suspect you will be as well. It’ll be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

      • mathieug79 - Feb 18, 2013 at 3:24 PM

        I know I’m not the only one that thinks Bonifacio can be a leadoff guy, Bautista said the same, the guy can get the bat on the ball, get on base, get inside the head of opposite pitchers/infielders. He can steal bases, I don’t see him as a leadoff hitter with the bluejays (since we have Reyes) but I see him as a #9 hitter and very good one at that. Also would like to point out, Bonifacio has been mentioned in trade talks all summer. So for AA to keep him, I think he sees something in him. AA also stated that if he would’ve known that he landed Bonifacio, he would’ve never signed Izturis, So that shows me he’s high on Bonifacio.

      • cur68 - Feb 18, 2013 at 3:26 PM

        IIRC Izturis was signed on to replace the magnificence that was Kelly Johnson. This was before the Mega-Trade with the Feesh was in the works. I think AA has said or alluded that he wouldn’t have got Izturis if he’d anticipated getting Bonifacio. That’s how this log jam came to be, if the Toronto press is to be believed.

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