Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Every team needs a Ryan Goins

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 1: Ryan Goins
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 1: Ryan Goins /

The Blue Jays made the difficult decision not to tender a contract to their long time utility man, Ryan Goins, in a decision announced on Friday evening.

Baseball’s deadline to tender a contract to rostered players was on Friday evening at 8pm EST, and the Blue Jays had 11 players that they had to make a decision on. Most were easy, but in the end Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins decided not to tender a contract to two of the 11, Tom Koehler, and long time Jays’ veteran, Ryan Goins.

Koehler was no surprise because he was expected to get a raise to near the six million dollar mark through arbitration, and by cutting him loose the Jays could theoretically bring him back at a cheaper rate if they so choose. Goins was a bit of a different story, as he was an important piece to the 2017 roster in the absence of Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis, and was projected to earn around 1.8 million.

Not long after getting the news about Goins, the Blue Jays announced a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals which brought Aledmys Diaz to the team, a 27 year old shortstop who will presumably fill the same type of role that Goins did in 2017. That said, the team carried both Darwin Barney and Ryan Goins from Opening Day until the end of the season, so if they had wanted to keep Goins around there’s an argument to be made that they could have. We may get a better idea of the full picture of the front office’s plans in the coming days and weeks.

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For Goins, it’s a bit of a shame that things are ending this way for him in Toronto, assuming the two sides don’t work out another contract for him to return. He debuted with the team in 2013, and has played 448 games in the Blue Jays uniform. He long served as a utility man of sorts, spending significant time at shortstop, and also at second base, as he did for a good chunk of 2015 as the starter. He’s also played third base, first base, in the corner outfield, and even took the mound.

In 2017, he ended up playing in 143 games, hitting .237/.286/.356 with nine home runs and 62 RBI. He was the last man to make the roster out of spring training when the Blue Jays elected to keep him over Melvin Upton at the time, and it’s a good thing they did, as Travis and Tulowitzki combined to play just 116 games.

Off the field he was one of the most well liked players in the clubhouse, and it was immediately evident what his teammates thought of his departure. Marcus Stroman wasted no time in tweeting out his distaste for the decision, and it’s very likely there are others in the clubhouse who feel the same way. It’s a good example that baseball is a business and sometimes tough decisions do have to be made.

That said, I’m surprised by the decision, especially this early in the offseason. While he’s been a source of frustration for many fans throughout his time with the Blue Jays, Goins has been a valuable member of the organization, especially as they’ve navigated significant injuries in recent years. He rarely complained (not until this year when he said he wanted to be starting full time), and very clearly prepared for each day as if he was going to be counted on in a significant spot, which often ended up being the case.

Fan favourites don’t just develop for no reason, and Goins for the the type of hard nosed, blue collar player that many fans gravitated to, and with good reason. It’s easy to cheer for the underdog, especially when you see him busting his hump the way Goins did in a Blue Jay uniform for five seasons, and even if it’s a decision that needed to be made for whatever reason, it’s still tough to see him cut loose.

Next: Blue Jays acquire Aledmys Diaz from the Cardinals

So here’s to ya Go-Go. Thanks for the memories, and hopefully you’ll get that starting gig you’ve always wanted with another team.