Emilio Bonifacio and the Chicago White Sox have agreed on a one-year, $4 million contract, with a club option for 2016.
The report comes courtesy of Jon Morosoi of Fox Sports.
Last week we ranked Bonifacio at 17th on our list of the Top 20 Remaining Free Agents. He was the fourth-highest ranked middle infielder behind Stephen Drew, Rickie Weeks, and Everth Cabrera.
Bonifacio, 29, immediately becomes the front-runner to win the starting second base job out of Spring Training.
The December trade that sent top prospect Marcus Semien to Oakland for Jeff Samardzija left an opening that was expected to be a competition between Micah Johnson, Carlos Sanchez, and Leury Garcia. All three are best served gaining some addition seasoning in the minor leagues while the speedster holds down the gig at the keystone corner in the short-term.
I assume the White Sox had the same thought in mind with this signing as Bonifacio has never been a reliable source of offense for long periods of time. Last season he hit a meager .259/.305/.345 with 17 doubles, four triples, three home runs, and 26 stolen bases in 394 at-bats split between the Cubs and Braves.
He can get hot for a spell and look like an everyday player, but he usually comes back to earth pretty quickly. It would seem the Sox have brought him in as a place holder until one of the other kids is ready to take the everyday job at second base.
When that happens, Bonifacio will still provide plenty of value for Chicago. What he lacks in offensive prowess, he makes up for in versatility. He can be counted on to play reliable defense anywhere in the outfield, third base, and second base. He has played plenty of shortstop throughout his career, but it’s the one position where he appears defensively overmatched, but he can slide into the position in a pinch.
In the end, this looks like a great move for the White Sox. They land some incredible versatility and a short-term placeholder at second base and, seemingly, have completed tinkering with what looks to be a legitimate contender in the American League Central.