Let’s put this bad pun to rest: Ryan isn’t Goins anywhere other than with the Toronto Blue Jays for a while. At least, as long as the impending trade deadline is concerned.
Did we survive it? Good. Couldn’t resist the painful pleasure of it.
Buffalo is a great town. It has great food. The people are friendly. It has an amazing naval museum, including two warships and a submarine you can get your best Sean Connery voice going inside (The Hunt For Red October was incredible). It also has a passionate fan base who loves sports. But with much respect to the Bisons’ hometown, Ryan Goins is loving his recent recall an hour’s drive north of the border.
After a dreadful start to the season and being sent back down to Triple-A, Goins has worked on the hitting art of his game. Since returning to the Jays’ lineup, Goins has hit .360, with 2 doubles, 3 walks, and 7 RBIs. He is much more patient at the plate, taking more pitches and swinging with a purpose, especially with runners in scoring position. His key hits have helped the Blue Jays win two series versus the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.
The 26-year-old second baseman was recalled to the big club on July 22 to give bench boss John Gibbons some more options on defense, since the infield was depleted by injury. However, the bonus bat has certainly made a mark before the trade deadline.
For the last two seasons, the Jays have had a cavalcade made of a famous retiree, a helpful journeyman, a few BandAids, a misplaced third baseman hyped on energy drinks, a player who injured himself running up steps, and the Kelly Johnson era only surpassed by the Bonifacio experiment. In Goins, the Blue Jays have a very sure-handed defender who is discovering what it takes to hit in big situations, with strategy and grace.
By absolutely no means is Goins a power hitter all of a sudden. He is unlikely to hit a big homer like fellow Blue Jays alumni second baseman, and Hall-of-Famer, Roberto Alomar did against Dennis Eckersley in the 1992 ALCS. The point is that Goins is hitting when nobody expected him to do so. The spot in the lineup is no longer a guaranteed out anymore. But then again, maybe having the widely reported approval of Alomar for Goins months earlier has come to worth. Who knows where his bat might be in September with Blue Jays hitting coach, Kevin Seitzer teaching the young talent.
Alex Anthopoulos will want to reap the benefits of the Blue Jays’ fourth-round draft pick in 2009, without having to give up anything in return. If Goins can stay consistent at the dish, he may help move Toronto’s desire for a trade to be specifically for a pitcher, instead of yet another infielder.
In any case, many of the clubs are asking for top young talent in trades for their better players and teams like the Jays have been tentative lately to commit their youth for a ‘rent-a-player’. This decision may be mutually beneficial to Goins and the Blue Jays. Goins’ 1-year contract will need to be addressed at the end of the season, but within the contract are clauses that may keep him a Blue Jay for a while. Until the business is sorted out, Goins has the rest of this playoff race to prove his worth.
Recently acquired Danny Valencia will play some third base likely until Brett Lawrie gets back, and that’s only if Valencia outplays a hard-working and improved, fan-favourite Munenori Kawasaki. In terms of play at second, Goins seems to be preferable and has everything to prove, keeping him hungry, with mild competition in the clubhouse as motivation. The Jays have every reason to trust their drafted investment.
The only thing Goins needs to do is to prove Alomar right. Robbie could also hit consistently, especially in big games. We need a larger sample size for any definitive proof of Goins’ progress. If Goins can hit a note of Alomar’s symphony, he can be trusted enough to produce and keep Toronto from looking elsewhere.