Goins Gone, Getz Up; 2B Issues Continue
Not even one month into the season, the Ryan Goins experiment that never should have happened has ended.
Goins, who was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo on Monday, hit .150/.203/.217 over 24 games with Toronto. The Blue Jays purchased the contract of infielder Chris Getz, as Sportsnet's Shi Davidi first reported Monday night, and -- to make room on the 40-man roster -- right-hander Mickey Storey was released. The Blue Jays could have promoted Munenori Kawasaki without having to clear room on the 40-man roster, but losing the 28-year-old Storey for nothing is not a move that's going to come back to haunt the team.
Now, Getz isn't some world-class hitter who is going to give Toronto's anemic production at second base a major lift. But, that doesn't matter much. How much worse can he be than Goins? Probably not much, if any at all. The Blue Jays simply needed change. And, for what it's worth -- which isn't much -- Getz hit .309/.382/.338 in 18 games with the Bisons. He's a career .251/.310/.309 hitter, which is slightly better than the .218/.243/.302 mark Goins has strung together over 58 major league games.
A left-handed bat, like Goins, Getz can run -- he is 87-for-105 in stolen base attempts, good for an 83% success rate -- and doesn't have platoon splits. He hits righties and lefties equally poorly, and since Jonathan Diaz isn't going to help the club with his bat, there's a good chance the Blue Jays will run with Getz as the club's starting second baseman.
As mentioned, it could have been Kawasaki or it could have been someone else. The reality is that the Blue Jays needed to do something, as Goins' bat is currently unplayable at the major-league level.
The Blue Jays figured out what seemingly everyone knew coming into this season: Goins' defense alone doesn't provide enough value to justify a starting spot on the roster. What value are you getting from a good defensive player who gives it all back, and then some, at the plate? The answer is none.
Through 24 April games, Goins was one of the worst hitters in baseball. Goins' 14 wRC+ -- an advanced metric which measures a player's total offensive contributions with 100 representing a league-average mark -- is the fourth worst in baseball among players with 60-plus plate appearances.
For some more perspective on how poorly Goins has hit this season, the average National League team, entering play Tuesday, is getting a .132/.162/.170 batting line out of its pitching staff.
Sure, the April sample is small. But the larger sample, including Goins' stints in the majors last season and time at Buffalo, paint a similar picture. His bat is too light to be receiving regular playing time on a team with postseason aspirations. Goins is 26 years old, so it's not like he's a young player with upside, either.
But don't think Anthopoulos and manager John Gibbons didn't already know that.
Before the year started, I wrote a piece and wondered aloud where the blame needed to be directed for the club's inaction this offseason, and started leaning heavily on ownership. I don't believe Anthopoulos had the resources to spend, and when stories emerge about players deferring portions of their salary to help the team sign a pitcher -- Ervin Santana -- on a one-year deal, it only helps reaffirm that.
Maicer Izturis' injury hurts the Blue Jays. It hurt when it happened, and it hurts now. And, considering Izturis is best used as a utility infielder, that says a lot. Getz and Diaz will try to get the job done at second base and the Blue Jays will look to extract whatever production they can out of the duo. There will likely be more faces, such as Kawasaki, who enter the mix, at some point, too.
Second base was the worst position on the team entering the season. At the end of April, nothing has changed.
It's easy to blame Anthopoulos for doing nothing this offseason, but I don't believe he had the money to do much of anything. The Blue Jays needed a second baseman and starting pitching. Toronto still needs a second baseman and starting pitching. For a GM who could find himself on the hot seat if 2014 doesn't go right, it's hard to imagine Anthopoulos, someone who has never been shy of dealing, preferred the status quo over bringing in outside help.
For now, it's Getz over Goins. And while the Blue Jays might be able to get more production out of Getz, he isn't the answer.
This move highlights the bigger issue, and it's that the Blue Jays' inaction this offseason is coming back, not surprisingly, to hurt them. They needed help from outside the organization -- no, Getz doesn't count -- months ago and still need it now.
h/t Fangraphs for stats