The Toronto Blue Jays are looking ahead as the Baseball Winter Meetings descend upon the Disney Swan and Dolphin Resort. Manager John Gibbons met with members of the media on Monday afternoon to discuss a variety of topics, which included several members of the Buffalo Bisons 2013 roster.
Ryan Goins rapidly shot up the Blue Jays organizational depth chart since the club made him the 130th overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft. The Round Rock, TX native spent the majority of his five-year minor league career at shortstop, but with Jose Reyes already manning the position for the big club, Goins helped fill a need at second base. His defensive skills really drew the attention of Gibbons.
"We really like what he did in September. I think he gave us a shot in the arm," praised Gibbons. "I thought he handled the bat well enough, you know, to be top dog going in there."
The Toronto skipper added, barring a trade, Goins is penciled as the team's starting second basemen heading into spring training, with former Bison Maicer Izturis shifting to a utility role on the infield. Goins committed just one error in 152 chances with the Blue Jays.
The 2013 season brought several pitchers on the mend through Buffalo, in the hopes of making a return to the big leagues. Drew Hutchison and Kyle Drabek were two hurlers that looked to regain their edge after undergoing Tommy John Surgery the previous year.
Gibbons would like to see the pair start the year with the Herd. He believes that the two "are healthy, whether they'd be ready to start the season, the big league season, I mean, who knows. Ideally they'd probably start in Triple-A and then if you do need somebody they can come up." Hutchison is coming off of a stint in the Arizona Fall League where he went 2-1, with a 3.32 ERA in six starts. The righty made five starts with Buffalo last year, and made 10 appearances overall between three different levels of the minors.
Drabek has spent parts of each of the last four seasons in the Majors, and made four appearances, including three starts, with the Bisons last season. The twenty-six-year-old also made three relief appearances for Toronto last season, but did not record a decision in the 2 1/3 innings of work.
Moises Sierra and Anthony Gose proved to be a very good 1-2 punch for the Herd in the field, at the plate, and even on the bases. Both said goodbye to Buffalo late in August, and that may be the last time Bisons' fans see either roam Coca-Cola Field. Gibbons acknowledged that Sierra's situation is complicated because he cannot be optioned to the minors without passing through waivers next year.
Sierra spent 35 games in the majors last season, after a .261 batting average with 11 HR and 51 RBI over 100 games for the Herd. The young outfielder hit .290 with a homer and 13 RBI primarily as a right fielder for the Blue Jays.
Gose is another player that peaked the attention of his manager in during the season's final month. Gibbons thinks the outfielder is, "on the verge. You know, he struggled in Triple-A played better in the Big Leagues, but I mean, he's got those skills that can help you in the Big Leagues even if…his hitting's not up to par quite yet. With his base running and his defense, and things like that."
The skipper also went on the say that he thinks Gose may be a player that plays better in the MLB, than in the minors. The twenty-three-year-old hit .259 for the Blue Jays in 52 games, after batting just .239 in 106 games with the Bisons. On the year, Gose stole 22 bases in 35 attempts in the International League. All but three of the caught stealing occurred before the All-Star break and he finished swiping his final 10 attempts successfully.