DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos is still exploring the possibility of making an upgrade at second base, but it appears as though the club is prepared to move forward with rookie Ryan Goins.
Goins entered camp earlier this week as the likely favorite to secure regular playing time at the position, but he will receive some competition from utility man Maicer Izturis.
There had been some talk earlier in the offseason that the Blue Jays would look to acquire another infielder, and while discussions continue to take place, it appears that's unlikely to happen before the 2014 campaign officially gets underway.
"A day ago, I was talking to a club about some trades," Anthopoulos admitted. "Right now through free agency, I'd say no. I would think it's unlikely that we add someone there, but I would say that we'll still continue to have some dialogue trade wise, see if we can bring someone else in. Our target has been more a younger guy that has upside that has a chance to be a long-term piece."
There are some serious question marks about whether Goins will be able to hit enough to justify a full-time job. That will need to be his biggest area of improvement and is one of the main reasons he volunteered to spend some time this offseason working with hitting coach Kevin Seitzer.
Goins got his Major League career off to a hot start last August, but his bat eventually cooled off and he ended the year hitting .252 with a .609 OPS in 34 games. The 26-year-old is a career .273 hitter with a .706 OPS over the course of five seasons in the Blue Jays' Minor League system.
The skepticism about his bat will continue to linger until Goins proves otherwise, but the one thing the club doesn't have any concerns about is his glove.
"I love the defense," Anthopoulos said. "He's as good defensively, I believe, as we've had here since Orlando Hudson was here. I think he's that good a defender. Defensively, he's Gold Glove caliber. The question will be the bat.
"Obviously, we've got some competition for him, and if he does make this team we view him right now as the nine-hole hitter. I think with Ryan, because the defense is so good, it allows him to not have to hit as much because he can help us on the other side of the ball to such a great extent. I love what he brings from a defensive standpoint."