Blue Jays Trade Grades: Who won the Paul DeJong trade?

Who comes out on top in the DeJong-Svanson trade between the Blue Jays and Cardinals?
Miami Marlins v St. Louis Cardinals, Paul DeJong
Miami Marlins v St. Louis Cardinals, Paul DeJong / Scott Kane/GettyImages

After making a big splash on Sunday by acquiring reliever Jordan Hicks, along with the previous acquisition of Génesis Cabrera almost two weeks ago, the Toronto Blue Jays and St. Louis Cardinals were once again trade partners on Tuesday as they grabbed shortstop Paul DeJong from the Cardinals in exchange for minor league pitching prospect Matt Svanson.

With the apparent injury to Bo Bichette most likely factoring into the equation when the deal was made and with teams most likely knowing that already, could the Jays still possibly win this trade?

For the Blue Jays

The injury to Bichette must be significant enough for them to pursue a temporary, yet not permanent, replacement for him. With DeJong, the Jays are getting a former NL Rookie of the Year finalist with seven years of MLB experience that definitely has some pop in his bat. After all, in his All-Star year back in 2019, DeJong set career highs with 30 home runs and 78 RBI while playing with the Cardinals. However, in recent years, he hasn’t been close to repeating that kind of production as he ran into some injury issues, along with falling to more of a part-time role and a tumbling batting average to go with it. For the 2023 season, it has been deemed a bounce back year for DeJong, as his production numbers are more in line with his successful years prior to 2019.

The Jays will need DeJong to be the temporary stop-gap solution until Bichette returns, hopefully some time later this year. Obviously, he won’t be able to produce Bichette-type numbers, nor match Bichette’s hitting prowess, but if he can provide some solid run production while playing some steady defence (he once had 24 DRS back in 2019), that in itself would be a huge win for the ballclub.

For the Cardinals

In Svanson, the Cardinals get an unproven, but potentially high ceiling pitching prospect from the Jays who was drafted in the 13th round of the 2021 MLB Draft. Svanson had a decent but unspectacular season last year in 2022 as he played for both the Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays and High-A Vancouver Canadians, compiling an 8-5 record with a 4.15 ERA, 1.28 WHIP with 83 strikeouts in 82.1 innings.

This season, playing primarily with the Canadians, Svanson has been dynamite, with a 4-1 record, 1.23 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, giving up only four earned runs all year with 36 strikeouts in just 29.1 innings of work. In doing so, he was going to be promoted to Double-A New Hampshire prior to the trade taking place. Despite the impressive performance so far this year, Svanson was not ranked in the Jays’ top 30 MLB Top Prospects list and appears to need more time for growth and development as he rounds into form in the near future. The Cardinals appear to be willing to give Svanson the chance to prove his worth, but it will probably need at least a couple more years down the road.

The Verdict

The Blue Jays address their immediate need with DeJong for the replacement of Bichette at shortstop while he is out, and when Bichette returns, he would provide some valuable speed and a strong power bat off the bench. In giving up just Svanson, the Jays somehow maintain their strong minor league core, while leaving all of their top prospects untouched. That is definitely a huge win for the Jays, as it was pretty obvious that the Jays were desperate in finding a replacement at shortstop and was dealing from a position of weakness, but they managed to land DeJong without giving up anyone of significance as a result. GM Ross Atkins should be applauded for the rabbit he just pulled out of the hat this time as the Jays are clearly the winners this time around.

Overall Grade: Blue Jays A; Cardinals C