John Gibbons went into spring training saying that second base was Ryan Goins' spot to lose. Of course, he never said what he'd have to do to lose the job.
Right now Goins is hitting .171/.237/.171. 6 singles and 3 walks in 35 at bats. I think the singles were all ground balls that managed to game it through the infield. Our new hitting coach has talked about what a good student Goins, how he's learning, getting better, but pretty soon Ryan is going to have to show it on the field. I'm always sceptical when a hitting coach says he can turn someone into a hitter.
Goins' defense is terrific, but he does have to hit some. Last year he hit .252/.264/.345, in 34 major league games. That included a hot streak, when he was first called up he hit.480/.419/.467 in his first 8 games, before opposing teams had a scouting report on him.
If the Jays decide he hasn't cleared the low bar of 'his job to lose', what is the backup plan?
- Maicer Izturis? This spring he is hitting .261/.292/.261 in 23 at bats. Last year both his bat and his glove were terrible. He hit .236/.288/.310 and had a UZR/150 of -26.7, which added up to a MLB worst WAR of -2.1. Now I doubt he would be that terrible again, but he has to improve a ton to get up to replacement level.
- Munenori Kawasaki? This spring he's hitting .250/.308/.250 in 12 at bats. He's a lot of fun to watch, it seems like his teammates like him. If he was a right-handed batter, I'd want him over Maicer as utility infielder. He didn't hit much last year, .229/.326/.308, but he had some big hits. He was a breath of first air in an awful season. I'd like to hope this year isn't so awful.
- Chris Getz? He's been more impressive than his .250/.318/.400 spring line suggests, he's been hitting the ball hard, unfortunately for him, he's been hitting gloves. But, in 6 MLB seasons, he has a .251/.310/.309 career slash line. Again, if he wasn't a LHB, I'd take him over Izturis.
- Steve Tolleson? Hasn't hit much this spring either, .250/.318/.300. He's had 9 seasons of minor league experience, hitting .283/.372/.409, but hasn't hit in his short stints in the majors.
Beyond those.....well, Stephen Drew is still out there, and I'd love to give him a one-year contract. People keep pointing out that he hasn't played 2B in pro-ball, but then Goins never played second until 9 games in the minors, last year, and then with Toronto, and he didn't look lost at the position. Shortstops have been moving to second base forever. It is funny to think that Drew will be the one that can't do it.
And, of course, we could make a trade. We do have a few extra bullpen arms and extra 4th/5th starter types. With the number of pitcher injuries, so far this spring, maybe someone will be willing to give up a second baseman.
The Jays seem to have limited their options to the point that it is almost Goins or bust, unless they have a sudden change of heart and make a trade or a signing.