Over the winter, the Chicago Cubs had trade conversations with the Kansas City Royals about a deal that would second baseman Darwin Barney to the Royals in exchange for second baseman Emilio Bonifacio.
The deal never materialized and Bonifacio was released earlier this week by the Royals. On Saturday, the Cubs signed Bonifacio to a minor league contract.
Bonifacio split the 2013 season with the Toronto Blue Jays and Royals. The 29-year old second baseman hit .243/.295/.331 last season with a wOBA of .279 and a wRC+ 71. More encouraging than his overall numbers in 2013 is the fact that the second baseman finished the season strong with the Royals. Bonifacio hit .285/.352/.348 while playing with the Royals last season to go along with a wOBA of .315 and wRC+ of 96.
Bonifacio accounted for 5.7 baserunning runs above average last season (BsR) while stealing a total of 28 bases. For his career, Bonifacio has a speed score of 7.5.
Defensively, Bonifacio is a slightly below average second baseman as he has a career UZR of -2.3. While Bonifacio is predominately a second baseman, the former Royal has experience playing in the outfield as well as at the shorstop and third base positions.
Despite the minor league distinction on his contract, Bonifacio presumably has a good chance at making the Cubs 25-man roster. Interest was high in Bonifacio after his release from the Royals so the veteran likely wouldn’t have signed with the Cubs if he didn’t feel good about his chances of making the Major League roster.
Bonifacio may even push Barney in Spring for being the team’s starting second baseman. While Barney is clearly the better of the two defensively, Bonifacio may have a leg up on the current Cubs starting second baseman if he is able to produce offensively the same way he did with the Royals at the end of last season.