Bonifacio was released last month by the Royals, with whom he spent the first ten years of his pro career. He appeared at the MLB level each of the past three seasons with Detroit’s division rivals.
While Bonifacio once looked like a potential long-term piece in KC, things have gone south the past two years. He was suspended for the first 80 games of 2018 for performance-enhancing drugs, and he struggled at the plate in that season’s second half. He spent almost all of 2019 at Triple-A Omaha, where he was dreadful offensively. Bonifacio’s .222/.284/.417 slash translated to just a 62 wRC+ in the hitters’ haven that was the Pacific Coast League. Despite the Royals’ struggles at the big league level, Bonifacio only made it back to the highest level for five games.
That said, it’s a reasonable roll of the dice for the Tigers, where Travis Demeritte failed to stake a claim to the right field job after Nicholas Castellanos was traded mid-season. Bonifacio is still just 26 years old and only two years removed from putting up a serviceable .255/.320/.432 (98 wRC+) line. Bonifacio’s out of options, so if he does make the team, he’ll need to remain on the active roster or else be re-exposed to waivers. Given Detroit’s lack of uncertainty in the outfield, it seems he’s found a reasonable opportunity to reestablish himself.