Emilio Bonifacio latest name to come up in Orioles offseason meandering

Mike Ehrmann

Do you want the Orioles to get Emilio Bonifacio? They might, once his waivers expire and he becomes a free agent. He would probably be a bench player, which is okay because he isn't very good as a regular.

The Kansas City Royals would rather have Bruce Chen on their roster than Emilio Bonifacio. It was Bonifacio who they designated for assignment when they signed Chen. Does this sound like the sort of player you want on the Orioles? It does not, but that means it sounds exactly like the kind of player that the Orioles seem to want to have in the spring training mix.

Bonifacio is currently on release waivers, which means that any team could claim him, but they would be on the hook for the $3.5 million contract he settled on during the arbitration process. The Orioles "won't touch" that full contract, according to MASN's Roch Kubatko, so there seems to be little chance they would put in a waiver claim.

However, Bonifacio is described as having "long been a favorite" of manager Buck Showalter, so Baltimore is viewed as one place where he might come to rest, if he becomes a free agent. He'll be a free agent if no one claims him by the time the waivers run out at 2pm on Wednesday afternoon.

The switch-hitting second baseman would not be any kind of inspiring addition - we've had to make our peace with the fact that there won't be any of these, even if they do sign one of the starting pitchers left on the market. That said, if his role on the team would be limited to "make sure Alexi Casilla isn't the utility infielder/pinch runner", then that might not be so bad. According to Kubatko, that seems to be where the Orioles would be leaning, as he notes that Ryan Flaherty is the favorite to get the second-base job.

Bonifacio has stolen 98 bases with 22 caught stealings over the last three seasons. A guy on the bench who can run and actually does do so successfully is something the Orioles have been missing in recent years. With a career slash line of .262/.322/.340 over 612 games, that's probably all you should want to see him do. He has been tolerable when thrown into both the infield and outfield in his career.

There is value for this considering the Orioles appear to be headed towards a possible platoon in both left field and at designated hitter. Given that a bench spot is guaranteed to the backup catcher, if the last guy can do more than just play shortstop, that's a bonus. All of that is assuming he's not completely terrible, which is not any kind of safe assumption. He had a sub-Izturisian (.300) on-base percentage in 2013, never an encouraging thing to see.

The fact that the most exciting Orioles news on a given day is whether or not they are interested in, or will acquire, Bonifacio is the surest sign there needs to be spring training immediately. Anything to break up the drudgery! Except please don't sign one of the overpriced starting pitchers that will cost a draft pick, thanks.

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