Throughout the 2016-17 offseason, Fish Stripes is counting down the top 100 Marlins of all-time. For comparison’s sake, we are using the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) metric as a measuring device. The top 100 WAR ratings are being featured. Today’s Marlin, Emilio Jose Bonifacio, earned 3.6 while with the Marlins.
Bonifacio is a 5’10”, 210 lb. utility player who played every position for the Marlins aside from pitcher, catcher, and first baseman. Born on April 23rd, 1985, he was signed as a free agent by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001 out of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Boni played in Arizona’s farm system for four seasons and part of a fifth before making it up to the major league. He ended up getting into 19 games for the DBacks over parts of two seasons at the top level, hitting .200/.282/.257/.539 with four RBI in 35 at bats. On July 22nd, 2008, Arizona traded Boni to the Washington Nationals for Jon Rauch.
In his partial season with the Nats, Bonifacio hit .248/.305/.344/.649 in 41 games, with five triples and 12 RBI as Washington’s second baseman. After the season the Nats sent him to the Marlins with PJ Dean and Jake Smolinski for Scott Olsen and Josh Willingham.
Bonifacio spent most of his four seasons with the Marlins with the parent club in Miami. He did appear in 40 games with the New Orleans Zephyrs in 2010, hitting .274/.339/.360/.699 with 11 RBI.
In Bonifacio’s first season with the Fish, he ranked seventh on the team with 127 games played, ranking second on the team with 21 stolen bases, and hit .252/.303/.308/.611, with 72 runs scored, 11 doubles, six triples, and 27 RBI. For the only time while with the Marlins, Bonifacio posted a negative WAR rating, finishing 0.7 underneath the watermark. He had multiple hits in his first five games with the team, going 14-for-24 with a double, a triple, a homer, and five RBI. He had multiple hits in 34 of his 106 starts in total when it was all said and done. Florida went 54-52 in games he played, and 33-23 otherwise. He received most of his starts at third base, but also got a handful of starts at second, center field, and shortstop.
On April 6th, Bonifacio singled, stole a base and scored in the first, singled, stole a base and scored in the third, hit an inside-the-park two-run homer in the fourth, then again singled, stole a base, and scored in the sixth as the Marlins defeated Washington, 12-6.
Anything he hits in the gap is going to be a triple anyway. - Senators center fielder Lastings Milledge
On June 9th, Bonifacio hit a two-RBI double in the third and an infield RBI single in the fifth to help defeat the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-3. On July 4th, he collected three singles, a stolen base and a triple in a 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. On August 1st, Bonifacio defensively replaced Hanley Ramirez at shortstop in the fourth, then drew a walk and scored in the fifth, singled in the sixth, hit a sacrifice in the eighth, then smacked a game-tying two-run triple in the bottom of the ninth to send the Cubs to an extra-inning, 8-8 tie. The Cubs won on their first extra-inning at bat, a solo home run by Derrek Lee.
In 2010, Bonifacio played 73 games with the Marlins, hitting .261/.320/.328/.648 with six doubles, three triples, and 10 RBI. He had 37 starts in center field, and the Marlins went 17-20 in those games, posting a 63-62 record otherwise. Bonifacio also got playing time in right field, left field, second base, third base, and shortstop. Despite his limited playing time, he earned 1.1 WAR while with the team. He collected multiple hits in 13 contests, with four three-hit games.
Between September 5th and September 12th, Bonifacio went 17-for-34 with two doubles, two triples, and three RBI. On September 5th, Boni doubled and scored in the third, singled in the seventh, then tripled and scored the walk off game winning run in the bottom of the 10th on a Scott Cousins single. Two days later, Bonifacio singled and scored in the third, tripled in the fourth, drew a walk and scored in the seventh, then singled and scored in the eighth inning as the Marlins came up just short against the Philadelphia Phillies, 8-7. Five days after that, in a 6-5 Marlins win over the Washington Nationals, Bonifacio singled and stole second in the second, singled and scored in the fourth, walked in the sixth, and hit another single in the eighth.
Bonifacio earned a career-high 2.7 WAR for the Marlins in 2011, ranking second on the team with 152 games played. He hit .296/.360/.393/.753 with 26 doubles, seven triples, five home runs, 36 RBI, and 40 stolen bases. The Marlins went 8-2 when Bonifacio didn’t play, and 64-88 when he did. Go figure. Bonifacio had multiple hits in 50 of his 141 starts over the season, including 10 three-hit affairs.
From June 28th through July 28th, Bonifacio hit savely in 26 consecutive games, hitting .390 with four doubles, 19 stolen bases, and five RBI over the span. On May 1st, he hit a three run homer in the top of the eighth in a 9-5 win against the Cincinnati Reds. On July 10th, Boni hit three singles, stole three bases, and scored twice in a 5-4 win against the Houston Astros. On August 23rd, Bonifacio racked up three RBI on a single, a homer, and a sacrifice fly in an 8-6 loss to the Reds. A week later, on September 1st, he hit a single and two doubles, stole two bases, and scored two runs in a 7-5 loss to the New York Mets. On September 5th, in a 9-3 win over the Mets, Bonifacio hit two singles and a double with two RBI and a run scored. He hit a single, a double, scored a run, stole a base and knocked one in on September 27th, as the Marlins defeated Washington, 3-2.
In 2012, The Florida Marlins became the Miami Marlins, but Bonifacio remained with the team. Injuries cost Boni nearly 100 games that season, as he only got into 64 contests, all starts. He had 14 multihit games and three three-hit affairs. Miami was 31-33 in games that Boni started and 38-60 otherwise. For his part, Bonifacio slashed .258/.330/.316/.645, with eight extra base hits, 11 RBI, and 30 stolen bases.
On April 9th, Bonifacio hit three singles, stole a base, and scored a run in a 6-2 victory against the Philadelphia Phillies. He got to base in each of his four plate appearances on April 17th, hitting two singles, drawing two walks, stealing two bases, scoring once and collecting an RBI in a 5-2 win over the Cubs. On May 11th, in a 6-5 win over the Mets, he hit two singles, stole two bases (see below), scored a run and knocked another in. On May 13th, he hit a single, two triples, and scored two runs in an 8-4 Miami win against the Mets. On July 18th, Bonifacio hit a single, a double, and a triple, but the Marlins lost to the Cubs, 5-1.
After the 2012 season, the Marlins traded Bonifacio with John Buck, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes and cash to the Toronto Blue Jays for Henderson Alvarez, Anthony DeSclafani, Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Jake Marisnick, Jeff Mathis, and Justin Nicolino.
After half of a season with the Jays (94 games, .218/.258/.321/.579, three homers, 20 RBI), Bonifacio went on to join the Kansas City Royals (42 games, .285/.352/.348/.700, 11 RBI, 16 stolen bases), the Cubs (69 games, .279/.318/.373/.692, two homers, 18 RBI, 14 stolen bases), the Atlanta Braves (65 games, .212/.272/.263/.535, one homer, nine RBI, 13 stolen bases), and the Chicago White Sox (47 games, .167/.198/.192/.390, four RBI). Recently, he signed a free agent contract with the Braves for the 2017 season.