UPDATE: Goins put together another solid day at the plate, going 2-4 and helping the Jays beat the Red Sox 8-0. Let’s see if he can keep it up!
Ryan Goins‘ a terrific defender.
I was super excited about his potential last year when he originally appeared on the map for the Toronto Blue Jays. Everyone knows the Jays desperately need an everyday second baseman who can field and hit.
At first, Goins appeared to fit the bill.
He had a good start at the plate and the highlight reel seemed to follow him everywhere. Unfortunately, the offensive jump-start didn’t last.
Jays fans quickly discovered Goins can’t hit very well at the major league level. This meant he wasn’t really any better as an option at second base than Maicer Izturis or Munenori Kawasaki. Goins finished the 2013 season hitting .252 in 119 plate appearances.
There was renewed hope when this season began that Goins could finally figure things out at the plate. He cracked the opening day roster as the Jays’ everyday second baseman, but after going hitless in his first six games, I was surprised to see him kick around in the lineup until the end of April.
If the Jays had a stronger starting rotation and bullpen, Goins’ defence alone might’ve been enough to save his job, but this isn’t the case. The Jays are a team built around offence so they can’t really afford any dead spots in the batting order.
I took the demotion to mean Goins’ time on the big club was over for the year. The team was content playing Brett Lawrie, Kawasaki and Steve Tolleson at second base depending on the context. Goins isn’t really an offensive or defensive upgrade over these players so there was no point rushing him back.
A slew of recent injuries, however, have forced the team to stretch everyone out with Kawasaki serving some time at third base. If you add to this the gradual decline of Juan Francisco‘s season, space suddenly opened for Goins’ return.
Taking over the second baseman duties for Kawasaki since Tuesday so the personable utility man can play elsewhere, Goins has been handed one last opportunity to earn his place on the Jays’ roster for the remainder of the season. He’s unlikely to take over the everyday second baseman duties from Kawasaki, but he could force Tolleson or Anthony Gose off the bench and back to the minors.
This is why Goins’ offensive production over the last two games has been so important. In both games, he registered a single hit, which normally isn’t anything noteworthy, but both hits came at critical times, bringing home runners and helping the Jays win. (When’s the last time we’ve been able to say this about Gose?)
Goins was able to record a run himself in each game – a bonus.
Goins will probably never be known as a great offensive second baseman. He’s no Roberto Alomar in this respect. Having said that, if he ever manages to find consistency at the plate, he’d be a good all around second baseman, which is exactly what the Jays need right now.
Is Goins toying with us again? Can he make the offensive output last this time? Is there really a spot for him?
We’ll see as his third audition with the big club continues.