The Blue Jays have been very fortunate with the play of Ryan Goins at shortstop, who has filled in more than admirably for injured star, Troy Tulowitzki.
The injuries have piled up for the Blue Jays lately, as we’ve watched John Gibbons march out all kinds of creative lineups in the last week or so. As the vast majority of us are aware, the Blue Jays are missing Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki from the everyday lineup, as well as starters J.A. Happ and Aaron Sanchez.
In their absence, the Blue Jays have turned to depth options such as Darwin Barney, Chris Coghlan, and Ryan Goins, the latter of whom has been a saving grace for the struggling club. It’s not easy to lose a player with defensive value like Tulowitzki’s, and Goins may be one of the only backup shortstops in baseball who could rival Tulo’s defensive skills.
The 29 year old infielder wasn’t guaranteed to make the Blue Jays roster to begin the season, and would have been exposed to the waiver wire if the Jays didn’t take him north on Opening Day. The decision reportedly came down to Goins or Melvin Upton, with the Jays ultimately deciding to DFA Upton, who has since signed with the San Francisco Giants.
Now that Tulowitzki is on the shelf, Goins is proving why it was wise to keep him in the organization. He’s repeatedly delivered highlight reel plays at short, and has been making a solid contribution with the bat as well. His presence has helped things from completely unravelling on the Blue Jays in the season’s opening month.
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In fact, he’s actually hitting pretty well over his last 4 starts, collecting a hit in each game and going 5-13 overall. Yes, that’s a small sample size, but Goins looks a lot more comfortable at the plate lately. Regular playing time obviously helps with that and it could be short-lived, but it doesn’t hurt for a number of reasons.
Eventually Donaldson and Tulowitzki are going to be healthy, as are Sanchez and Happ. When that time comes, the Blue Jays will have a few decisions to make. Some of them will be easy, such as sending Casey Lawrence back to the starting depth ranks in Buffalo. Others won’t be as easy, as players like Chris Coghlan have opt-out options, and as always, the health of the roster will dictate the needs elsewhere. There is only so much room on the 40 man roster as well, and that will be a significant factor in how the Blue Jays shape their roster.
There were reports at the beginning of the season that there was interest in Goins on trade market, and that keeping him over Upton was the result that interest, and none in Upton. It’s not that they want to trade him, it’s that they already have Darwin Barney and it’s not easy to find the roster space to carry two utility infielders. Yes, both can handle the corner outfield positions in a pinch, but having both on a 4 man bench isn’t an ideal scenario.
Which is why Goins could end up traded later in the year, that is, assuming that Donaldson and Tulowitzki can get and stay healthy, and his strong play helps the Blue Jays in more ways than one. It’s not as if he’s going to garner a big prospect haul, but if another club sees him as a viable starting option at shortstop, they may be willing to send back something useful.
Which is far easier to swallow than losing him for nothing, as it appeared they might at the conclusion of the spring. Maybe Blue Jays fans overvalue Goins and his slick glove, but lately he’s proving why many of us wanted to stick around. If he has to go later in the year, at least he’s getting a chance to remind people what he can do, and hopefully improving his trade value in the process.