Blue Jays: A rebuttal on Ryan Goins’ future in Toronto

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 12: Ryan Goins /

A couple days ago, our own Pat Pender wrote a piece talking about Ryan Goins’ place with the Toronto Blue Jays going forward, and it sparked a lot of comments and interest from the online fan base. I’d like to offer a rebuttal to Mr. Pender’s opinion.

I’ve never written about another writer’s work before, and especially not something written by our own staff here at Jays Journal, but I thought it would be fun to give it a try today. A couple days ago, our own Pat Pender wrote a piece with many insightful points called, “Ryan Goins should not be employed by the Blue Jays in 2018″, and it drew plenty of debate among our readers and Jays fans across the internet (side note- some of you are big meany heads, sheesh). Pat made several relevant and well supported points, but there are certainly two sides to this debate.

Ryan Goins has been a polarizing player among the fan base for a long time, and arguably never more than he has been in 2017. On one hand, he’s been an underwhelming player who has been all too consistently in the lineup, and has slashed just .228/.279/.335 in 391 at bats. On the other hand, he’s been instrumental in covering for the consistently injured Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis, even if he hasn’t performed up to their standards.

He’s an endearing figure to the fan base, and it’s with good reason. Every club needs their “grit guys”, and Goins has always represented exactly that. A player who is guaranteed next to nothing, but consistently gets their jersey dirty whenever they’re in the lineup. Goins has played shortstop, second base, third base, first, the corner outfield, and even pitched in a Blue Jays uniform, while rarely asking for anything. All he’s ever asked for is a consistent opportunity, and he hasn’t exactly disrupted the clubhouse with his request.

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While my colleague Pat Pender makes some valid points about Goins and his standing with the franchise, I think it’s valid to consider the other side of the coin with someone like the utility infielder. First and foremost, let’s start with this year’s starting keystone, who are currently slated to return in 2018: Devon Travis and Troy Tulowitzki.

“Tulo” played just 66 games this year, and with all due respect to the 5 time All-Star, he didn’t look healthy for most of the games he appeared in. I do believe he’s got some great baseball left in him before his career is over, but counting on him to play 150 games a year is foolish and irresponsible. Unfortunately the same could likely be said for Travis, though he is much younger than Tulowitzki, and is bound to have a healthy season one of these years. The second baseman appeared in just 50 games in 2017, after 163 in the two seasons combined in 2015-16.

With that in mind, isn’t having someone like Goins around crucial? You could argue that the Blue Jays have internal options to take on the role next year, and I wouldn’t disagree too passionately. However, someone like Goins would probably return on a very cheap contract, depending on what the open market might offer him of course.

Granted, he had a down year on paper on the defensive side of the ball, but he’s long been known as a plus defender, and he’s had many highlight reel plays in 2017 as well. While I’m not one to argue with the stats very often, it feels like he’s been better than just +0.3 dWAR this year. Maybe I’ve missed too many games, who knows.

What I do know is the Blue Jays can always use depth in their middle infield picture, especially if they intend to compete for a playoff spot next year. They do have some talented youngsters in Richard Urena and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., but it’s hard to say if either are ready for a bigger role at the game’s highest level. Urena has played well in his opportunity this month, but he hit just .247/.286/.359 at the Double A level this year, so he could likely use more time before making a permanent move to the big leagues.

Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins could elect to spend some money on the area in free agency, but there are other needs (5th starter, outfield, etc), and the more likely path is to stick with cheaper, homegrown options in the utility department. Goins could very well fit in that mold, and the Blue Jays could do worse than to have him around.

Next: Arbitration will be expensive this offseason

He’ll likely want a guaranteed major league contract, and maybe he’ll get offered a better opportunity to start somewhere else this offseason. But if not, the Blue Jays shouldn’t rule out bringing back their long time utility player. He’s the type of blue collar player that’s easy to cheer for, and wherever he ends up next season, I hope he’ll get a big ovation at the Rogers Centre whether he’s wearing a Blue Jays’ uniform or not.