Yet for all that, I thought manager Fredi Gonzalez had a telling quote about him afterthe game: ” Boni, even through all the stuff he’s been going through, at the beginning of the year and hitting .900 and people expecting him to hit .970, he comes every day to work and he’s getting better. He’s got a nice little hitting streak going. He’s hitting a little over .300 from the right side…He’s doing fine. He’s one of those guys you characterize as a winner because he’ll find something to do during the course of a game to help you win a ballgame.”
Can’t really disagree with Gonzalez here. We haven’t seen many games from Bonifacio like he had that first week, but for all his shortcomings — and he has his share — he does seem to do at least one thing a game that makes you say, ‘Ok, let’s keep him in there a little longer and see what he can do.’ If nothing else, I’m impressed by the fact he’s shown no signs of being a “me” player.
…Would the Marlins be a better team with Mark DeRosa starting at third every day? Probably, but this notion that the only reason Bonifacio is still here is so the Marlins can justify the trade that sent Scott Olsen and Josh Willingham to the Nationals is absurd. If that was the case, why isn’t Cameron Maybin here to justify the Miguel Cabrera trade? Come on.
Since I started this I’ve read many a Rodriguez piece and he seems to know just enough on baseball to write a blog on an otherwise insignificant team for a fairly local newspaper; that is to say, he’s not great at it, but it works for the audience. But even if you didn’t know a lot about baseball, you should enough to say that there’s NOTHING Emilio Bonifacio can bring to this team that is major league worthy. Nothing. Not his bat, not his glove, and really what else is there to say about a position player?
Fredi needs to stop this charade. I can’t in good conscience think that Gonzalez is simply ignoring the numbers. Even if you were a traditionalist, you could tell Bonifacio has been terrible. It doesn’t take a genius to look at his trinity line and say it’s bad. It doesn’t take a genius to look at his slash line and say it’s bad. It doesn’t take a genius to see that the guy in left field that you’re playing regularly was a career infielder before you brought him to the major leagues and a guy on the bench for your team is a potential Gold Glove outfielder. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that a guy who is on base less than 30% of the time should not be eating up plate appearances for a no. 2 hitter.
But for some reason, Fredi and the gang don’t realize this. It’s starting to bug all Marlins fans. They’re in the hunt for the division, why not give the team the best chance to win? This idea that Bonifacio is somehow tantalizing the Marlins brass with his recent eight game hitting streak is ridiculous. He’s hitting singles mostly, folks. He stole some bases, sure. Wouldn’t you rather have a guy who hit doubles instead? Wouldn’t you rather have a guy who hit anything with more than ground ball authority? Emilio Bonifacio is NOT Ichiro. Emilio Bonifacio is Willy Taveras without the range in center field. Emilio Bonifacio is Emmanuel Burriss at third base. He isn’t ready, he shouldn’t be playing, and I’ve had enough of apologist beat writers who think he’s going to bust out any minute and “hit .300 and steal 30 bases” and do other things that won’t help the Marlins win.
Fredi said “he’s a winner.” What part of Bonifacio’s terrible defense and league-worst bat is helping you win games? I’d like it explained to me by anyone on the Marlins. Is he a “clubhouse leader?” Does he make everyone laugh on boring flights on the road? Fredi, what is he doing every night that is helping the team win? Making routine plays on defense? Sacrifice bunting? There isn’t anyone else on the team that can do this?
Maybe Fredi needs to realize that winning baseball games requires finding players who are better than minor league scrubs. Just because you have a scrub on your team that fields most of the ground balls and swings above the Mendoza Line and happens to be “blazing fast,” it doesn’t mean there isn’t another guy who is offering better production on your team.
Mr. Rodriguez asks if the Marlins can win with Bonifacio? There’s a long answer, but the short answer really is “no.”