Ryan Goins had a golden opportunity in 2016 when the Jays starting second baseman, Devon Travis, began the year on the disabled list. Unfortunately, the 28-year-old was unable to capitalize on the vacancy, hitting just .176 and losing his starting gig before he, too, landed on the DL. Goins spent most of the second half at Triple-A Buffalo where he slashed .265/.318/.388 in 110 at-bats -- far from impressive after posting similar numbers over an entire MLB season the prior year. Meanwhile, his teammate and top competition, Darwin Barney, was productive in Goins' stead and Travis eventually returned, leaving little room for Goins to see playing time. Overall, the infielder posted career-worst marks in average (.186) and strikeout rate (24.5 percent) in 279 at-bats. With shortstop Richard Urena, a top-100 prospect, on the horizon and a healthy roster in place, Goins will have an uphill climb to make the big league roster in 2017. He will work on adding to his versatility by playing some outfield this spring, as he is out of minor league options.
Goins hit leadoff and went 1-for-3 in Wednesday's Grapefruit League game against the Orioles. After going hitless through his first 12 at-bats of the spring season, the utility infielder has now managed a hit in his last three games. With Darwin Barney ahead of him on the depth chart, Goins -- who is out of minor-league options -- entered camp seemingly destined to be designated for assignment. However, with the Jays' starting second baseman, Devon Travis (knee), possibly beginning the season on the disabled list, Goins has a legitimate shot of being added to the 25-man Opening Day roster, thus avoiding being exposed to waivers.
Goins appears destined to be designated for assignment as the Jays are committed to Darwin Barney retaining the top reserve role, Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports. Goins sealed his fate with an awful 2016, a season in which he began as the Jays' starting second baseman in place of the injured Devon Travis. After hitting .179/.216/.308 prior to the All-Star break, Goins had lost his role on the team and was eventually sent to the minors. Now out of options, the 28-year-old is expected to be up for grabs on the free agent market by the end of spring. This may not be a bad thing for Goins from a fantasy perspective, as he certainly has the glove to find a routine role on the right MLB team. His value for the 2017 season will hinge on whether a new team decides to sign and play him.
Goins, who lost his utility-infielder role to Darwin Barney last season, will begin working in the outfield to increase his chance of making the 2017 roster, Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports. Barring injuries, the Jays starting infield is locked in, and Barney, who had an outstanding 2016 campaign, can fill in at shortstop, second and third base whenever needed. Goins is out of minor league options, meaning the 28-year-old will be waived if he doesn't remain on the 25-man roster or DL for the duration of 2017. After playing 128 games in 2015, Goins was awful for the Jays in 2016 before suffering a forearm injury and spending most of the second half in the minors. His fantasy value is tied to his extended positional eligibility, but (assuming he makes the 25-man roster) Goins is best-suited for deeper leagues.
Goins has just nine at-bats since being recalled at the beginning of September. Four of Goins' at-bats this month came in his one start on Sept. 11 versus Boston. The infielder struck out three times in that game, and has five strikeouts in total this month. With the Jays' season hanging in the balance, it's very unlikely that Goins will be afforded another start this year.
Goins went 1-for-4 with three strikeouts in Sunday's loss to the Red Sox. Goins' sixth-inning single was his first hit since being recalled at the beginning of the month. To say this season has been a disappointment for the 28-year-old would be an understatement. With Devon Travis beginning the season on the DL, Goins was slated for an everyday role to begin the year. After hitting just .173 over 75 at-bats in April, Goins began ceding opportunities to Darwin Barney and eventually was faded out of the game plan once Travis returned. Goins landed on the DL in early June, essentially ending his days on the team's 25-man roster. After having a career-best season in 2015, the second baseman will look to forget his 2016 campaign and begin anew in the winter.