Bo Bichette's awful defense continues to cost Blue Jays wins

Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays / Cole Burston/GettyImages

How much longer can the Toronto Blue Jays roll with Bo Bichette as their primary shortstop? At what points is his defense at short awful enough that he should begin to get looks elsewhere?

Bichette's suspect defense at short has been a common topic of discussion around Blue Jays media for what feels like forever. His range is decent but not great and his throwing arm is just atrocious.

In Wednesday's game against the Phillies, the Blue Jays' bats were ice cold when it mattered most. With runners in scoring position, they were 0-for-9, only scoring a run when Brandon Belt hit a mammoth solo home run in the fifth inning. However, one play lost the game for the Jays, and it was a throwing error by Bichette.

Most people reading this will have seen this by now, but to those who have not, feast your eyes.

Point blank, a team hoping to contend cannot have things like this occurring during the regular season. The "it's only May" argument can be put off to the side for now, because this is just unacceptable defense. This miscue is the fourth error of the year for Bo at short.

For the 2023 season, Bichette's Baseball Savant page is full of nothing but red ... in all offensive categories. On defense, things have been a completely different story. In Outs Above Average, he sits in the 40th percentile while he is in the 36th percentile in Arm Strength. Last year, he was in the 7th percentile in OAA and 46th in Arm Strength.

For a shortstop, range and arm strength are two of the most important traits a player can have. Bichette has shown time and time again that his arm is a liability for the club and we all physically saw how it can cost the Jays games.

A position change for Bichette doesn't seem like something the club would truly consider, but not because he couldn't handle it. Instead, it'd be because of a total lack of replacements at the big league level. On the club's 26-man roster, Santiago Espinal is the only other shortstop-capable player around. Whit Merrifield and Cavan Biggio can play second, but neither player has ever played shortstop in the big leagues and would not be legitimate replacements.

Call it reactionary, but this suspect defense from Bichette has got to be dealt with somehow. The Blue Jays are one of the best teams in the American League and if they hope to stay that way, they'll need all the close victories they can get. Right now, games are being thrown away (literally) left and right.

The defensive miscue resulted in a 2-1 loss at the hands of the Phillies. Once again, Kevin Gausman absolutely dominated the opposition with nothing to show for it. The righty went six shutout innings while striking out nine, lowering his season ERA to a respectable 3.38. Yimi García and Erik Swanson followed up with shutout innings of their own before Jordan Romano once again turned in a shaky performance in the ninth inning. He surrendered the tying run but was able to escape the inning before things got any worse.

Tim Mayza, the Jays' only lefty in the bullpen, was the unlucky hurler on the mound when Bichette made his throwing error. He was charged with an unearned run and earned the first loss of 2023, lowering his ERA to 1.42 in the process.