According to MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo, the Royals have requested unconditional release waivers on Emilio Bonifacio. This means that he will be exposed to release waivers, and any team may place a claim on him, and his $3.5 million salary, in the next 48 hours. If he is unclaimed, Bonifacio will become a free agent.
Bonfiacio was designated for assignment on February 1st, in order to clear a roster spot for the newly signed Bruce Chen. Many teams could use a versatile player like Bonifacio on their roster, so it was assumed the Royals would be able to find a trade partner, although that never came to fruition. It probably didn’t help that media reports with team sources were suggesting Bonifacio wouldn’t take kindly to a bench role, either. That, plus the fact that teams realized they could probably wait it out and sign Bonifacio to a free agent contract for equal money or less, without having to surrender any trade pieces. Cotillo also reports that the Royals were asking for a high price in exchange for Bonifacio, which makes very little sense considering the complete lack of leverage they would have in negotiations.
This entire saga with Bonifacio has been confusing, to say the least. For Bonifacio to go from projected starter at second base, to super utility player, to potential trade asset, to released, is quite the bizarre sequence. It also seemed like there were other options to DFA before falling on Bonifacio, since the Royals could leave themselves all of Spring Training to find a trade partner. The only potential positive of cutting ties before camp starts would be to avoid paying much of his salary. As it is now, it appears the Royals will be on the hook for 30 days of Bonifacio’s salary (the $3.5 million that the two sides agreed to just a few weeks ago) if no team claims him in the next two days. If the Royals would have released Bonifacio later in the spring, their salary obligations would have been more expensive, though the difference wouldn’t have been that much. It just seems strange to me for the Royals to handle this situation in the way that they did.
Regardless of how it all went down, the Emilio Bonifacio era is over in Kansas City, after all of 42 games. The Royals paid basically nothing to acquire him, and they’ll receive literally nothing for his departure.