This morning I was thinking about the horrific ending to John Farrell's tenure with the Blue Jays and I started to wonder if it would have been better if Maicer Izturis or Emilio Bonifacio was the player sent to Cleveland prior instead of Mike Aviles, the man that came to Toronto for Farrell. The trade with Cleveland took place slightly earlier than the acquisitions of both Bonifacio and Izturis so this scenario isn't completely accurate, but still interesting to think about. Obviously hindsight is a great thing to have, but the team might be in a slightly better situation if Aviles was the survivior of the great second base shake-up of November 2012.
The 32-year-old has hit in the area of .250 with an OBP of .280 for the past three seasons and played second base for 94 innings with Cleveland this year. His UZR over that (small sample size) period was a fairly average 1.0 with a career average that is around -5.0, so it's safe to say he's basically an average-ish second baseman at this point in his career. He went on to avoid arbitration and sign a two-year $6 million extension in Cleveland with a $3.5 million option for 2015.
As we all know. the average season by Aviles would have been a swell alternative to the horrible output from the Blue Jays' second base position during the 2013 campaign. Maicer Izturis hit .236 and had an OBP of. 288, which was definitely a below average year offensively for him. On the defensive side of the ball, Izturis had a UZR of -8.9 in 413.1 innings with most of his previous seasons at second base hanging around the 0 mark, so the 2013 campaign was below average all-around for Mr. Izturis. Maicer has two more years of $3 million owed to him in 2014 and 2015. plus a $3 million option in 2016, which will be his age 36 season.
Emilio Bonifacio hit .218 and got on base at a .258 clip, which would also be considered below average output for him. The defensive side of the game for Bonifacio was a mess during his time in Toronto and he departed the city with a 0.3 UZR in 447.2 innings at second base, which is actually pretty standard for his career so it seems the horrible errors made us overlook his fairly average play over the course of his time in Toronto. As everyone knows, Bonifacio was shipped to Kansas City midway through the season for cash, where he went on to be pretty good at baseball again.
The theoretical question with many variables which must be ignored, is whether you look back at the trade with Cleveland and wish someone else was traded along with Yan Gomes for Esmil Rogers. It seems obvious that shipping Bonifacio before the season, who would probably would have beem more highly valued than Aviles at the time anyway, would have been the best move. That would (theoretically) leave Toronto with two average utility infielders with two more years plus options remaining on their contracts. Out of the three options I always liked Aviles the most, but if Emilio had lived up to expectations I would have never been writing this post. So what are your thoughts folks?