The Kansas City Royals acquired Emilio Bonifacio from the Toronto Blue Jays for cash or a player to be named later Wednesday, giving them a versatile player capable of providing depth in their banged-up infield.
Third baseman Mike Moustakas remained out of the Royals lineup with a strained left calf for Wednesday’s game against the Marlins. Fellow infielder Miguel Tejada, who had been playing second and third quite regularly, went on the disabled list Sunday with a strained right calf.
He was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to clear space on the 40-man roster for Bonifacio, who is expected to join the Royals for their five-game set against Detroit that starts Thursday. The Royals will have to make a move to their 25-man roster at that time.
Bonifacio, whose younger brother Jorge is in the Royals’ minor league system, was traded to the Blue Jays from the Marlins last offseason. He was hitting just .218 with three homers and 12 stolen bases, but is especially valuable given his ability to play the infield and outfield.
He’s played all three outfield spots with the Blue Jays, but can also play second base, third base and shortstop. All of them are areas where the Royals were in need of depth.
In fact, Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore attempted to address the issue earlier this week when he swung a similar deal with the Twins to acquire Jamey Carroll. The veteran infielder is also capable of playing across the infield with experience in the outfield.
Before the trade for Bonifacio was announced, Royals manager Ned Yost was asked whether Moustakas would land on the DL after hurting his calf rounding third base earlier in the week.
"It’s possible. Everything is possible, but not probable," said Yost, adding that the walking boot that Moustakas was wearing Wednesday was designed to take pressure off the calf.
"He’s feeling better," Yost said. "We’re going to reevaluate probably tomorrow and see where we’re at, but I don’t anticipate him having to go on the DL."
The Royals have streaked into playoff contention for the first time in a decade, ripping off 17 wins in 20 games before a 1-0 loss in extra innings to the Marlins on Tuesday night. That surge has energized a fan base that has grown weary of losing, and prompted Moore to start maneuvering his team for a postseason push for the first time in his tenure in Kansas City.
That’s a big reason why he traded for power-hitting outfielder Justin Maxwell at the July 31 trade deadline, and why he made the move for Carroll last Sunday.
But the move for Bonifacio may also be considered a reaction to injuries. Along with losing Tejada and the injury to Moustakas, the Royals are also playing without center fielder Lorenzo Cain, who went on the disabled list after straining his left oblique last Friday.
"I’ve been through this, many, many times. It’s all part of the game," Yost said of the sudden rash of injuries. "You have to be able to deal with it. You can’t sit back and complain about it, worry about it — ‘Woe is me. Why is this happening?’
"You deal with it and move on," he added. "We feel like we’ve got enough depth to cover it. None of these injuries are long-term injuries, knock on wood, but just little nicks and dings."