Toronto Blue Jays acquire shortstop Paul DeJong from St. Louis Cardinals

It's the third trade between Toronto and St. Louis in two weeks

By John Chidley-Hill in Toronto

Shortstop Paul DeJong was acquired by the Toronto Blue Jays in a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals hours before Tuesday’s trade deadline.

Toronto also got cash considerations from the Cardinals, sending pitching prospect Matt Svanson, 24, to St. Louis in return.

DeJong has 13 home runs, 32 runs-batted-in and a .233 batting average in 81 games this season. 

“Good player, obviously,” said Blue Jays manager John Schneider, two hours ahead of Major League Baseball’s trade deadline. “It’s a unique time of year with this day and in the next couple of hours.”

The swap was announced a day after all-star shortstop Bo Bichette left Toronto’s 4-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles when he appeared to injure his right knee.

A two-time all-star, Bichette leads Toronto with a .321 average this season and 17 home runs. It’s the highest average in the American League and fourth best in MLB.

Schneider confirmed that Bichette was just day to day after an MRI found no significant structural damage to the 25-year-old shortstop’s knee. He said the team would continue to monitor Bichette’s progress.

“He’s feeling OK. He was moving around in the clubhouse a little bit today,” said Schneider. “We all know Bo, he wants to be out there every single day. 

“He won’t be in there today, but he’s doing alright.”

Schneider said that DeJong would not be active for Tuesday’s game at Rogers Centre between Toronto and Baltimore, as he was still travelling from Missouri. Instead, Santiago Espinal played short for the Blue Jays on Tuesday.

“The goal of any team is to make sure all your bases are covered,” said Schneider. “So if that means we’re without Bo for a little bit, and it may not, I think that past today you kind of lose that option to really protect yourself.”

MLB’s deadline is set for 6 p.m. ET, with Toronto general manager Ross Atkins scheduled to speak with media around 6:45 p.m. about the DeJong deal and any other moves the team may make.

The 29-year-old De Jong has played his entire seven-year career so far with the Cardinals, who drafted him in the fourth round of the MLB draft in 2015. In 2019, DeJong hit a career-high 30 home runs and 78 RBIs and was named an MLB all-star. 

The Blue Jays designated outfielder Jordan Luplow for assignment to make room for DeJong on the 40-man roster.

It’s the third trade between Toronto and St. Louis in two weeks.

Left-handed reliever Genesis Cabrera was acquired from St. Louis on July 21 for minor-league catcher Sammy Hernandez. Atkins noted before that deal that adding a lefty to his right-dominated bullpen would be one way to add depth.

Right-handed reliever Jordan Hicks was then added to Toronto’s bullpen Sunday in a second deal with the Cardinals, sending right-handed pitching prospects Adam Kloffenstein and Sem Robberse to St. Louis in return.

Atkins spoke with media on Monday about the deal for Hicks and noted that the talks for Cabrera paved the way for the second deal.

“They’re spending time on our organization, understanding where their values are on our players,” said Atkins on the benefits of making several deals with the same team. “We’ve had success with them in the past and dealing with (Cardinals team president) John Mozeliak and their entire front office, so it certainly does help.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 1, 2023.

Banner image via The Canadian Press