The not so secret decision to name Ryan Goins as the second baseman for the Toronto Blue Jays Opening Day roster is now official, as manager John Gibbons declared him the starter to begin the season. The Blue Jays manager officially announced the decision to a media scrum this morning, including MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm.
No surprise here but Gibbons confirms that Kawasaki won't make the team. He also "officially" declared Goins starting 2B. #BlueJays
— Gregor Chisholm (@gregorMLB) March 24, 2014
The Blue Jays briefly entertained the thought of an open competition for the starting second base role, but the consensus always remained that Ryan Goins would likely get the nod unless something drastic happened. With the team doing little to acquire adequate competition, each passing day just cemented the fact that Goins would receive the nod.
An true asset with the glove, Goins was worth 12 defensive runs saved and 33.1 UZR/150 in just 262.1 innings of work at the keystone in 2013, prompting Toronto to give him ample opportunity to earn the role in the spring. However, the true question has been whether he’ll hit enough at the Major League level to hold down the role. His spring slash-line of .176/.236/.216 didn’t do much to help his case in that regard, however the team seems content with the work Goins has been putting in with hitting coach Kevin Seitzer will make him at the least adequate.
Goins hit .252/.264/.345 in 34 game audition with the Blue Jays last season, but those numbers were elevated by .315 BABIP. His 2 walks versus 28 strike-outs over 121 plate appearances indicated a larger issue identifying pitches and showing patience at the plate. Over five seasons in the minors, Goins has slashed .273/.330/.706 but has a 2.2/1 K/BB ratio.
The decision was made easier when Jose Reyes was removed from Saturday’s game with hamstring tightness. Goins, a shortstop in the minors, gives the Blue Jays the flexibility to slide over to short when Reyes is not in the line-up. Maicer Izturis then would handle second base.
In corresponding moves, the Blue Jays have returned infielders Steve Tolleson, Chris Getz, and Munenori Kawasaki to minor league camp, along with catcher Mike Nickeas, according to The Star’s Brendan Kennedy. Kawasaki will remain with the team in camp for a few days more while Reyes’ injury is sorted out.