Blue Jays designate Paul DeJong for assignment as Bo Bichette comes off IL

The Blue Jays acquired Paul DeJong from the Cardinals at the MLB trade deadline.

The Toronto Blue Jays activated star shortstop Bo Bichette off the injured list ahead of Saturday's game against the Cincinnati Reds, but the corresponding roster move came as a fairly large surprise.

Toronto opted to designate shortstop Paul DeJong for assignment less than three weeks after acquiring him from the St. Louis Cardinals at the MLB trade deadline.

DeJong struggled mightily during his brief stint with the Blue Jays, going 3-for-44 at the plate over 13 games. The 30-year-old struck out 18 times over those 44 at-bats.

The Blue Jays had other options available to them that would have kept DeJong on the active roster. Rookie sensation Davis Schneider, who has cooled off after a historic start to his career, could have been returned to Triple-A. Infielder Santiago Espinal has not been able to recapture his All-Star form from 2022 and could also have been sent to the minors.

Paul DeJong struggled mightily in his brief stint with the Blue Jays. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch)
Paul DeJong struggled mightily in his brief stint with the Blue Jays. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch)

Toronto didn't have to surrender much to acquire DeJong from the Cardinals, sending pitching prospect Matt Svanson to St. Louis in return. DeJong was brought in to play sound defense at shortstop in Bichette's absence, but his abysmal performance at the plate sapped any value he brought with the glove.

DeJong wasn't expected to produce much with the bat, as he owns a career 94 wRC+ (league average is 100). Still, the Blue Jays were at least counting on something close to league-average hitting with some occasional home run power — he had 13 home runs in 81 games with the Cardinals this season and had a 30-homer campaign in 2019.

Bichette returned to his familiar spot in the Blue Jays' lineup, batting second against Reds left-hander Brandon Williamson. Toronto has struggled to generate consistent offense since Bichette suffered his knee injury on July 31 and will be looking for a spark from the 25-year-old.

The Blue Jays fell out of a playoff spot after Friday's shutout loss to the Reds, as the red-hot Seattle Mariners leapfrogged them in the American League wild-card standings.