When the Blue Jays announced that Rowdy Tellez had been demoted some folks thought it might mean Bo Bichette was on his way. That’s not the case this time, but it won’t be long.
It looks like the Bo Bichette promotion watch will continue, at least beyond the start of a four game set in Boston against the Red Sox that gets underway on Monday.
After finishing up their series in New York with the Yankees, the Blue Jays announced that Rowdy Tellez had been sent down to Triple-A, opening up a spot on the 25 man roster that they didn’t fill right away. Naturally that lead to speculation that Bo Bichette could be making his long-awaited MLB debut and joining his talented former teammates at the highest level.
That’s apparently not going to be the case, at least according to a tweet from Blue Jays’ play-by-play announcer Mike Wilner.
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In a rebuilding season that was lost almost from the get go, fans have looked forward to the promotion of talented prospects who should be the future cornerstones of this team. The hype and pressure to promote Vladimir Guerrero Jr. last season was very strong, and it continued until he finally made his debut near the end of April. The same happened before Cavan Biggio made his way to Toronto, albeit to a lesser degree, and now the focus has shifted to when Bichette will join them in the big leagues.
There’s little doubt that he’s ready for the next challenge based on his performance in Triple-A, and also because of the success of the fellow youngsters at the highest level. Bichette is now slashing .301/.365/.491 in 42 games in Triple-A, adding 14 doubles and 14 stolen bases to his resume, while also picking up five home runs in 182 at-bats. He’s not dominating minor league pitching to the save level that Vlad Jr. did, but he appears to be ready to move on whenever the Blue Jays have room.
Of course, that’s the biggest issue right now, even if they did just create a roster spot by sending Tellez back to Buffalo. They could use that spot on Bichette, but that would mean that Freddy Galvis would likely have to vacate the shortstop position, and that’s easier said than done. Charlie Montoyo has also used second base to get regular playing for Biggio and Eric Sogard as well, and Brandon Drury is still kicking around too. The whole picture could change in a few weeks after the trade deadline has come and gone, but for now there aren’t a lot of starts to go around.
That said, it feels like the Blue Jays are going to have to do something about their top-ranked prospect before this season is out, even if they might prefer to delay his service time by another year by keeping him in Buffalo on much the same timeline that Vlad Jr. went through this year (albeit, also due to injury). The fan base is going to call for his promotion more loudly with each passing week, especially if he continues to rake in Triple-A, and even guys like Marcus Stroman have publicly stated that he wants to see the talented young player join them in Toronto.
It was also interesting to see that Bichette himself tweeted out a bit of a cryptic message on Sunday night, stating “(there’s) no point in chasing an outcome when you can’t control that outcome”. You could interpret that message in a few different ways, and many Blue Jays fans let their imaginations run wild once they saw the tweet.
On one hand, Bichette might be frustrated that he’s still waiting for his MLB opportunity, even if he hasn’t been put through the same ringer yet that some of his fellow top prospects have (both Vlad Jr. and Biggio had to wait longer). The timing of the message would be a little weird too, mostly because Bichette has to know that his opportunity could be around the corner with the trade deadline a little more than two weeks away, and infielders like Galvis and Sogard potentially on the move.
On the other hand, and a more likely scenario, Bichette is hearing and seeing the noise about his performance and deserved promotion, and knows there’s little he can do about it. What he can do is focus on continuing to work on his craft and to get ready for the next challenge in his career, and the rest will take care of itself sooner or later.
However the young player actually sees the situation, I hope the Blue Jays don’t mess around too much and bring him up as soon as they can give him the full-time job at shortstop. That likely means Galvis needs to be traded sometime in the next couple of weeks here, but given the stage of their current rebuild that likely makes the most sense anyway.
It may not be happening as quickly as the fans, the media, Stroman, or even Bichette himself would like it to, but I’d be surprised if his MLB debut wasn’t right around the corner. If we’re still talking about this on August 1st, then that’s a whole other discussion.