MESA, Ariz. – Emilio Bonifacio could add another dimension to this Cubs team with his speed and versatility.
The Cubs signed Bonifacio to a minor-league contract on Saturday after the veteran utility guy cleared waivers and got released by the Kansas City Royals. If Bonifacio makes the team, an industry source said he would earn $2.5 million. The Royals are responsible for termination pay – roughly $600,000 – on his one-year, $3.5 million nonguaranteed deal for an arbitration-eligible player.
“His skill set is significant in that he can run and put the ball in play,” manager Rick Renteria said at Cubs Park. “He’s definitely a National League ballplayer. (It) brings depth to the organization.”
Bonifacio, 28, can play the infield and the outfield and has notched 138 stolen bases in his career. He’s played for five different teams and had his best season with the Florida Marlins in 2011, hitting .296 with a .360 on-base percentage, 26 doubles, seven triples and 40 stolen bases.
“I’ve seen him a lot through the course of his career on the other side,” Renteria said. “He’s kind of a happy-go-lucky-type kid. Always has a smile on his face. Loves playing the game of baseball.
“He’s certainly been around. He’s got experience at the major-league level in different organizations. His experience surely doesn’t hurt us.”