Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Goins Gone, Chris Getz a Shot



In a somewhat shocking display of good sense, the Blue Jays organization seems to have realized what right-minded Blue Jays fans have been saying for some time now. Ryan Goins is not a major league starter. Having finally come to this realization, the Blue Jays sent him packing to Buffalo with Chris Getz getting recalled to take his place. 

Goins had to go, that much is clear. Despite the talk from the front office and all the fans that swallowed it, no glove is good enough to carry a .218/.243/.302 batting line, which has given him a 45 wRC+ since the Blue Jays called him up last August. If you only look at what he's done in 2014 it's an even uglier picture, as that batting line falls all the way to .150/.203/.217 and a pitiful 14 wRC+. That is the very definition of a black hole in the lineup, and the Blue Jays had to do something to wring more production out of second base, especially with the slow starts some of the bigger bats have been experiencing. 

Well they did something, but it's uhh... well at least it's something. Just last week I was stumping for Munenori Kawasaki, who is already on the 40-man roster, and has at least one stand out skill (his ability to get on base against right-handed pitching) that the Jays could leverage to get something more than the absolutely nothing Goins was providing from the second base position. However, I can get with the decision to go with Getz instead of Kawasaki.

For starters, in AAA Muni has been hitting almost as poorly as Goins has in the bigs, with just a .189/.205/.216 batting line to his credit. Getz, on the other hand, has gotten off to a very hot start to the season, having hit .309/.382/.338 (with a .368 BABIP I might point out) thus far for the Bisons. If reaching base against right-handed pitching is Kawasaki's major redeeming quality, Getz's is his speed. He swiped 16 bags in 19 attempts last year for the Royals, and has stolen 6 in 7 attempts so far in Buffalo. He topped 20 steals in 2009 and 2011, despite not playing full seasons. The question with Getz has always been whether or not he's able to get on base enough to utilize his wheels, as his career .310 OBP will attest. 

Still, given that the options are a bunch of slap hitting lefties, having that speed and a greater than .300 OBP in the nine hole is better than what they were getting, but let's not harbour any illusions here. Getz is no major league starter either. He's basically the definition of replacement level. By FanGraphs' measure of WAR, he's never been worth more than 0.7 wins or less than -0.2. Over parts of five seasons in the bigs (six if you count his 7 PAs in 2008, which I'm not), he has amassed a grand total of 1.2 fWAR. As underwhelming as all of that is, at least he's shown the ability to be consistently replacement level. With Goins we were just hoping he would ever hit enough to even reach a replacement level ceiling. So yes, this should be an improvement, but it probably only moves the needle on their second base situation from intolerably awful to just plain bad.

This is mostly a big fat pile of "meh", but the most interesting repercussions of this move may come in the form of the roster shuffling that will be required to add Getz to the 40-man. Someone will need to be DFA'ed, and more tinkering will be required once Casey Janssen and Adam Lind return from the DL, which will hopefully be soon. Hey, maybe this will provide the impetus to clear out some of the out-of-options roster chaff so they can actually carry a usable bench, but I'll believe that when I see it. Perhaps, if they saw Goins as the best of a bunch of lousy second base options, now that they're being forced to call upon what they previously believed to be even worse options it will motivate them to get out there on the market and actually do something to make a meaningful upgrade at the position. Maybe. I'm not holding my breath.

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