Blue Jays: Ryan Goins should not be employed in 2018
By Pat Pender
There will be several decisions for the front office to make this offseason, including whether or not to bring back utility man, Ryan Goins.
Ryan Goins seems like a great guy. Most of the time, he has a smile on his face. He plays hard. He’s good pals with all the guys in the clubhouse. He’s super bald. His nickname is GoGo. Ryan Goins has a lot of things going for him. He’s even a millionaire now! Imagine that. He could go out and buy a Rav4 if he wanted to and probably have it paid off in no time. With that being said, I think he should be fired.
To put it less dramatically, Ryan Goins does not appear to be deserving of a roster spot on a major league team. He is a great guy, but then, so am I. I promise, if you just got to know me. But nobody should ever let me play baseball.
If you’re like me, you may not have realized that Ryan Goins has had 424 plate appearances this year. He’s just a hair shy of being qualified, but 424 PA is not an insignificant amount. This, frankly, should never have happened. Lack of depth has been a common theme in this disappointing season, and no player better exemplifies that glaring weakness than Ryan Goins.
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In terms of wRC+, Goins ranks third worse in all of baseball with a 61 mark, just below Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar‘s 59 for dead last. My god, that’s a whole other problem for Kansas. But presently, Ryan Goins has been just about the worst hitter in baseball this year. His -0.7 WAR ranks 7th in all of baseball, right next to his pal Kendrys Morales, if there were ever two different styles of player.
Most people would probably say, however, that he’s on this team more for his defensive prowess than his ability to hit, and that would be true. But based on the numbers, he simply hasn’t been that great of a defender either. Fangraphs has him listed as +3 Defensive Runs Saved to go with a -4.4 Ultimate Zone rating. Those are not good numbers. They’re not necessarily bad, either, but surely not numbers a glove-first player should be providing.
Defensive metrics still have a far way to come, and are still finnicky. But it’s also worth noting that in 2013, when he first came up, he posted 12 DRS and a 6.2 UZR. So clearly, these metrics have recognized Ryan Goins as a talented defender before.
By the time next season rolls around, Goins will be 30 years old, and there’s not much reason to expect his defense to improve. On the contrary, he could easily continue to decline, as his numbers last season were also very mediocre.
There’s really no good reason in giving him a roster spot next year. I suppose there’s an argument to be made that he’s cheap, but somebody who could match his 61 wRC while offering at least even the potential for more shouldn’t cost much. Obviously, the role he currently has does need to be filled, but I can’t imagine many other players with such limited upside that it’d be worth keeping him around.
In an ideal world, Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis make this a moot point next year, playing 150+ games each and limiting Goins to a very limited, back-up defensive replacement where he won’t continue costing us wins with his atrocious bat. But you simply cannot count on either of them staying healthy. I’m dying of strep throat right now and I’m still probably healthier than either of them will be next year. We can certainly just continue hoping for the best. But doing that is exactly what lead to the Ryan Goins experience in 2017. There needs to be a much better plan put in place next season.
Next: One year works well for Blue Jays and for Estrada
Eduardo Nunez seems like a good fit for the 2018 Blue Jays. He’d immediately become our fastest player and provide a good leadoff option. His bat and his glove both remain steady enough that he’s provided over 2 WAR each of the last two seasons. His beard also counteracts Kendrys Morales’ awful empty chin patch, which is a nice bonus.