Just two days after the Blue Jays acquired Cardinals flamethrower Jordan Hicks in a trade, another Redbird is headed to Toronto. Veteran shortstop Paul DeJong was shipped to Toronto, in exchange for a Minor League reliever. Here’s a closer look at the new Blue Jays infielder.
A Look at DeJong
New Blue Jays shortstop Paul DeJong turned into a budding superstar in 2017, when he hit .285 with 25 home runs in his rookie season and finished in second behind Cody Bellinger for the NL Rookie of the Year.
Two years later, DeJong became an All-Star and hit a career-high 30 home runs, but his numbers slid from there. In 2021-22, DeJong hit just .182/269/.352 across 639 plate appearances. But this season, his numbers (.223 average, 13 home runs and 24 extra base hits) have improved.
At the plate, DeJong did much better against fastballs this season. In his lone All-Star season in 2019, DeJong hit .274 against fastballs and pelted 19 home runs, but that changed to .183 last season. This year, he batted a much more respectable .282.
The 29-year-old is a pull hitter with above-average power for a shortstop, but doesn’t walk a ton and will tend to chase.
Defensively, DeJong has had his hiccups at the position but Statcast has graded the 29-year-old as a plus defender. DeJong has a +8 Outs Above Average this season at short this season.
Minor League pitcher Matt Svanson is the piece that will go to St. Louis in return. The 24-year-old reliever posted a 1.11 ERA over 32.1 IP across two levels (A and A+) this season. Outfielder Jordan Luplow was DFA’d as a corresponding move.
What it Means for the Blue Jays
A likely impetus for the acquisition of DeJong was the injury that Bo Bichette suffered on July 31. Bichette reportedly suffered no structural damage, but the addition of a bench bat that can help in the interim can’t hurt for the Blue Jays.
Aside from the concern surrounding Bichette, Toronto will need more production over the coming weeks from Daulton Varsho and George Springer. Springer, in particular, languished during the month of July. Across 99 plate appearances in July, Springer hit just .191/.273/.292 with two home runs and five extra base hits.