The Royals are bringing veteran infielder Ryan Goins back to the organization on a minor league contract, per the transaction log at MLB.com. Goins, an Octagon client, spent the 2018 season with Kansas City as well.
Goins hasn’t appeared in the big leagues since the truncated 2020 season, when he logged 14 games with the White Sox. He tallied only 10 plate appearances in that time, however, and went hitless in that small sample. He’s spent the past two seasons with the Braves organization, playing a combined 181 games for their Triple-A affiliate. Atlanta actually selected him to the Major League roster this past August but designated him for assignment and sent him outright back to Gwinnett before he ever got into a big league game.
The 34-year-old Goins didn’t hit much during his time with the Braves’ top affiliate, but that’s par for the course in his case. He’s long been a glove-first player, offering above-average defense all around the infield — but particularly at second base. In parts of eight Triple-A seasons, Goins is a .261/.319/.363 hitter, but he carries a lifetime .229/.278/.333 batting line in 1690 plate appearances as a big leaguer. The bulk of that experience came with the Blue Jays from 2013-17, but Goins has also spent time with the Royals (2018) and White Sox (2019-20).
Kansas City’s infield mix figures to give plenty of opportunity to younger players in 2023. Vinnie Pasquantino and Nick Pratto are expected to share time at first base and designated hitter, while young Michael Massey has an inside track on the primary job at second base. Bobby Witt Jr. should slot in as the team’s shortstop, though he spent plenty of time at third base in his rookie season in deference to defensive standout Nicky Lopez. The 27-year-old Lopez could log regular reps at shortstop or bounce around in utility fashion. He’s also drawn trade interest from the White Sox (and presumably other clubs). Hunter Dozier remains on hand as an option at either corner infield or corner outfield spot, while utilityman Nate Eaton could see action all over the infield and outfield.
Goins joins fellow veterans Johan Camargo and Matt Duffy as experienced infielders who Kansas City has signed to non-guaranteed deals in an effort to bolster the organizational infield depth. The Royals will surely want to get their young players as many looks as possible, but injuries are inevitable and Goins gives them a strong defensive veteran who can cover multiple spots should the need arise.