Former Toronto Blue Jays utilityman Emilio Bonifácio will be participating in the World Baseball Classic as a member of the Dominican Republic. He will join current Blue Jays Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Yimi García as well as former Jays hurler César Valdez.
Bonifácio has been out of MLB since 2020, when he played in three games with the reigning world champion Washington Nationals. A statistically unremarkable player in a career that spanned over 13 years, Bonifácio joins a very deep and talented Dominican Republic roster.
The speedy switch-hitter garnered the reputation of a Swiss army-knife type player during his time in the majors. Playing seven different positions during his career, his versatility mixed with his base-stealing abilities were an asset to the Florida Marlins during Boni’s prime. The best season of his career came in 2011, where he slashed .296/.360/.393 while stealing 40 bases and spending time at second, third, short, and the outfield.
Bonifácio was included in that historic blockbuster of a deal completed prior to the 2013 season between the Jays and Marlins. He was included in a package including José Reyes, Josh Johnson, and Mark Buerhle. Despite being a positive influence in the clubhouse and generally liked by Blue Jays players, Bonifácio never really found his footing on the field. Brought in to mostly play second, he struggled defensively and never found consistency with the bat, hitting for an uninspiring 58 OPS+ in 94 games as a Blue Jay. He’d be traded to the Royals in August of that year for cash considerations.
Bonifácio played for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Florida/Miami Marlins, Blue Jays, Kansas City Royals, Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Chicago White Sox, and Washington Nationals during his MLB career, spanning from 2007 to 2020.
The former Jays infielder has spent the last two seasons playing in the Dominican Winter League as a member of the Tigres del Licey (of which he is captain), as well as appearing for the Dominican Republic in the last Summer Olympics. At 37-years-old, it’s possible this is the last chance Bonifácio will have to compete on an international stage. I’m happy for Boni, and looking forward to him providing a spark for a sure to be fun DR team.