As the end of spring training this past March approached, many were thinking that Ryan Goins wouldn’t even make the Blue Jays roster. In the end however, Toronto decided to go with Goins over Melvin Upton Jr., and on so many levels, it was the right choice and a move that is paying off big-time for the Blue Jays.
After Devon Travis returned from his shoulder injury late last May, it wasn’t long before a struggling Goins was sent back down to the minors. It appeared as if the Blue Jays were set with Travis starting at 2nd base, Darwin Barney being the utility infielder, and Goins probably wondering if there would even be a place for him on this ball club any time soon. So much has gone wrong for the Blue Jays this season, but something that couldn’t have gone any better was how the team made the difficult decision to keep Goins on the 25-man roster, and how he in turn has stepped up starting at shortstop in the absence of Troy Tulowitzki.
Given how well Goins has played at shortstop this season, in addition to his solid contributions at the plate, the big question now is how his role has changed on this ball club even after Tulowitzki returns. Obviously Tulowitzki, when healthy, is the starting shortstop, but Travis hasn’t only struggled at the plate and on defense, he’s also making critical mental errors that a big league player should never commit. When he’s on, Travis is a .300 hitter, but given that Goins is the superior defender and has his head in the right place, do the Blue Jays perhaps go with Goins over Travis at 2nd base upon Tulowitzki’s return?
When the 2017 regular season began, Goins was behind both Travis and Barney on the teams depth chart. But seeing how well he’s been playing with consistent defense and clutch hitting, the Blue Jays must be wondering if at the moment he’s their best option to be starting at 2nd base.
Considering the hole the Blue Jays have dug themselves into to begin the season, they probably can’t afford to start struggling players over guys who are on-top of their game. Which is why if Goins is playing better than Travis and Barney (I know Barney has been hitting well, but his defense has been shaky), then Toronto needs to strongly consider starting Goins over either of those players. Last season at this time, it was Goins who was struggling mightily, and after Travis returned in May, it was an easy decision to have him start at 2nd base and send Goins to the minors. This season however it’s the other way around. Goins is playing the best all-around baseball when compared to Travis or Barney, and if things continue as they are with Goins excelling and Travis struggling, what then becomes of Goins’ role on the Blue Jays?