Detroit Tigers take a flier on Jorge Bonifacio

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 18: Jorge Bonifacio #38 of the Kansas City Royals reacts after strking out during an at-bat in a game against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on June 18, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. The Royals won 9-0. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 18: Jorge Bonifacio #38 of the Kansas City Royals reacts after strking out during an at-bat in a game against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on June 18, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. The Royals won 9-0. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /
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The Detroit Tigers are taking a flier on a former top prospect, as they have signed former Kansas City Royals outfielder Jorge Bonifacio to a minor league deal.

Last season, the Detroit Tigers created a void in their outfield when they traded Nick Castellanos to the Cubs. In his place, prospect Travis Demeritte was given an opportunity to seize the Tigers right field spot moving forward. Instead, he struggled in his 186 plate appearances in Detroit, posting a .225/.286/.343 batting line with three homers and seven doubles. It was certainly not what the Tigers had hoped for from Demeritte.

On Saturday, they added another possible option for the outfield. Former Royals prospect Jorge Bonifacio has been signed to a minor league contract, with an invitation to Spring Training.

At one point, Bonifacio was seen as a part of the Royals future. A consensus top 100 prospect prior to the 2014 season, he was a power hitting outfielder with a cannon of an arm, a player that was supposed to help the Royals continue to find success. He did have a solid rookie season in 2017, posting a .255/.320/.432 batting line with 17 homers and 15 doubles. However, he was a disaster on defense, costing the Royals six runs in right.

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Nonetheless, he was likely to open the 2018 season as the Royals starting right fielder before he was suspended for 80 games as he tested positive for PEDs. Bonifacio struggled when he came back, posting a .225/.312/.360 batting line over his 270 plate appearances, hitting 16 doubles, but only four homers.

He then spent most of 2019 in AAA, getting a five game stint with the Royals in the middle of June. When he was not a part of the September callups, it was obvious that his time in Kansas City had run its course. Indeed, he was designated for assignment to free up space on the 40 man roster.

For the Tigers, Bonifacio is a worthwhile gamble. If he can return to the form he showed prior to that PED suspension, he could potentially be a piece for the future. While that is questionable, the Tigers certainly have the roster space to take a flier on the one time top prospect.

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The Detroit Tigers are taking a gamble on Jorge Bonifacio. If he can return to form, they could have a long term piece for the outfield.