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Should the Cubs sign Emilio Bonifacio?


Sep 23, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Kansas City Royals second baseman Emilio Bonifacio (64) celebrates after scoring a run against the Seattle Mariners off a RBI single hit by Kansas City Royals designated hitter Billy Butler (16) (not pictured) during the 4th inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Royals designated utility man Emilio Bonifacio for assignment the other day and have requested “unconditional release waivers” on him. Anybody who claims Bonifacio will have to take on his entire $3.5 million salary. But if he’s able to clear waivers, he will become a free agent and sign with any team he pleases.

Emilio Bonifacio, 28, has played almost every infield position but first base. Think of the depth he’d be able to give this team if he were signed. It’s not like it would be a long-term thing, he could be signed for at least two years, giving our top prospects a little bit more time to work with.

I know fans are eager to see those fresh faces on the 25 man roster, but a little bit more time in the Minors has never hurt anybody.

The team will have Donnie Murphy and Luis Valbuena on the bench. Murphy could play almost every position but first base just like Bonifacio, while Valbuena will anchor third base if Mike Olt makes the starting lineup. Bonifacio doesn’t necessarily have the power, but when he’s on his game, he’s a great defender to have on your roster.

He would more than likely end up backing up Darwin Barney at second and Castro at short whenever these guys need a days rest or an injury were to occur. Hopefully that last one doesn’t happen.

Emilio has committed 54 errors in his six years in the league, the most being 14 while playing 86 games at third base for the Marlins. That’s nothing compared to Starlin Castro’s 100-plus errors at his position in the few years he’s been a starter, but it’s still not great.

Last year Bonifacio hit .243/.295/.331 across the line with three home runs and 31 RBIs between the Royals and Toronto Blue Jays. His best offensive year came back in 2011 when he played 152 games with the then Florida Marlins and hit .296/.360/.393 with five home runs and 36 RBIs.

Here’s a look at his fielding numbers at second, third, short, left, center and right field.

Second base – 165 games played, 143 started, 260 put outs, 401 assists, 22 errors, 104 double plays, .968 fielding percentage.

Third base – 134 games played, 121 games started, 71 put outs, 216 assists, 17 errors, 24 double plays, .944 fielding percentage.

Shortstop – 97 games played, 81 games started, 121 put outs, 198 assists, 12 errors, 40 double plays, .964 fielding percentage.

Left field – 66 games played, 46 games started, 95 put outs, three assists, one error, zero double plays, .990 fielding percentage.

Center field – 110 games played, 92 games started, 228 put outs, three assists, two errors, zero double plays, .991 fielding percentage.

Right field – 28 games played, 20 games started, 40 put outs, two assists, zero errors and double plays, 1.000 fielding percentage.

He’s a career .262/.322/.340 hitter with 10 home runs, 131 RBIs, 75 doubles, 28 triples, 183 walks drawn, 470 strikeouts and 138 stolen bases. So again, the power hitting isn’t there, but I do like the total of RBIs and stolen bases he’s recorded in his six years.

So when it comes down to it and the Cubs are able to either place a claim or sign him? They should definitely do it. You never know, this guy could have a breakout year like Donnie Murphy, Nate Schierholtz and Dioner Navarro did with the Cubs last year.

Although I would prefer them signing him as a free agent and giving him less than $3.5 million.