Phillies Should Target Emilio Bonifacio

Mike Ehrmann

The Royals designated the 29-year-old infielder/outfielder for assignment this week. And the Phillies should absolutely make an offer for him.

The Royals designated infielder/outfielder Emilio Bonifacio for assignment on Saturday. Bonifacio is a modern day Jose Oquendo, able to play virtually every position on the diamond except for first base and catcher.

I've actually been on the Bonifacio train since last December, when I wrote that he would have been a good free agent acquisition for the Phils.

At the time, the Phillies were looking for both a third baseman and a center fielder, before they traded for Ben Revere and Michael Young. Bonifacio's 2013 season was decent enough, splitting time between Toronto and Kansas City. He accumulated 461 plate appearances and hit .243/.295/.331 with a bWAR of 1.3.

He's not much with the bat, although his career numbers, .262/.322/.340 with an OPS of .662, are better than they were last year. And there are three reasons why he would be a good addition to the Phils.

First, he's relatively cheap, at $3.5 million after agreeing to a deal with Kansas City this off-season that avoided arbitration.

Second, he's got lots of speed, something the Phillies sorely lack. Bonifacio stole 28 bases last year, had 30 the year before and 40 in 2011. Last year, Jimmy Rollins and Ben Revere tied for the team lead with 22 steals.

And third, he's a 29-year-old switch hitter than can play a legitimate center field, as well as just about every other position on the field. For a team searching for a left-handed hitting back-up center fielder, he would fit perfectly in that role and as a late-inning defensive replacement/pinch runner.

Signing Bonifacio almost certainly means that Cesar Hernandez starts the season at AAA, but that's not the worst thing in the world. It also calls into question Freddy Galvis' future with the team, although manager Ryne Sandberg has indicated Galvis will be the team's utility infielder.

This wouldn't be a landscape-altering deal, but it could be one of those smaller deals that helps the Phils win a couple ballgames this summer. And those kinds of guys are always useful.

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