Blue Jays nearly went a completely different route to replace Bo Bichette at deadline

As a result of Bo Bichette's injury the Blue Jays found their replacement with Paul Dejong, but they reportedly could have traded for another intriguing candidate.
New York Mets v New York Yankees
New York Mets v New York Yankees / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

Opinion is understandably mixed on how well the Blue Jays did at the trade deadline, whether in their own right or compared to other ballclubs. What is more clear however, is they did well to find a replacement for Bo Bichette.

This becomes even more important, with the updated news Bichette has been placed on the Injured List with right patellar tendonitis. In this respect, Paul DeJong should be a quality substitute, albeit more in terms of his defence than offence.

Adding to the intrigue however, the Blue Jays could have taken a different avenue to find their replacement for Bichette. Consider this tweet from MLB Insider Jon Heyman:

Without more clarity, there is no way of knowing how close -- if at all -- the Blue Jays were to acquiring Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Regardless, it certainly gives Blue Jays fans something to contemplate.

Fair or not, Heyman's claim inevitably leads to comparisons between Kiner-Falefa and DeJong. For example, the former is two years younger.

Who has the edge?

On the flip side, the Blue Jays have more control with DeJong, with club options for the next two seasons. Kiner-Falefa on the other hand, will become a unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the 2023 campaign.

Yes, we appreciate Bichette will return as the regular starter whenever he is fully recovered. However, the option for quality depth is always something to consider, with both DeJong and Kiner-Falefa representing this.

Offensively, there is no replacing Bichette's bat, but if it makes Blue Jays fans feel better, DeJong is the more productive of the two. He has 115 homer runs and 338 RBI during his six+ seasons in the Majors, compared to 25 and 194 respectively by Kiner-Falefa in five+ years.

This is reflected overall, with DeJong leading the way with a career .731 OPS compared to .666. For further context, he has played 698 Major League games, compared to 615 by Kiner-Falefa.

Defensive considerations

Turning to defence, the fielding percentages are closely matched - DeJong is .981 percent, whereas Kiner-Falefa is .976. For Defensive Runs Saved, the former has a considerable advantage -- even taking into account having played one season longer -- at 41 to 25.

In terms of dWAR, DeJong has a career advantage of 7.4 versus 6.6. As for individual accolades, Kiner-Falefa has the only defensive award, with a Gold Glove in 2020. (More generally speaking, DeJong was named an All-Star in 2019.)

Overall, there is an argument to be made that the Blue Jays would have had their quality cover at shortstop whichever one they traded for. Ultimately though, you'd have to say they got it right, with DeJong being the better option.

Of course, you can have all the statistics and information in the world, but it only means so much. What matters is how DeJong performs moving forward, and you wouldn't be blamed for also keeping a curious eye on Kiner-Falefa in the coming weeks.