Rumored Dodgers Trade Candidate Lands On Injured List

Apr 26, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN;  Chicago White Sox center fielder Luis Robert Jr. (88) is tagged out at second base by Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette (11) in the first inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 26, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Chicago White Sox center fielder Luis Robert Jr. (88) is tagged out at second base by Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette (11) in the first inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports / Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
In this story:

Stop the rumor mill.

Bo Bichette, the Toronto Blue Jays' shortstop who has been the subject of trade rumors before and since Mookie Betts fractured his left hand, is going on the injured list.

The Jays placed Bichette on the 10-day IL retroactive to Saturday with a right calf strain. He'll be replaced on the active roster by Orelvis Martinez. According to Shi Davidi of SportsNet, the Blue Jays aren't expecting Bichette to need more than the minimum stay on the injured list, meaning he could be back in a week.

The critical question now is, will the Blue Jays still be within reasonable distance of the AL wild-card race in a week?

At 35-37 going into Tuesday's game against the Boston Red Sox, the Jays are looking up at three teams in the AL East race, 14 games behind the first-place New York Yankees. In the wild-card race, they are five games behind the Minnesota Twins and must also pass the Red Sox to climb back into postseason contention.

It's reasonable to question whether the Blue Jays would trade away from their vaunted core of Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. with both stars not eligible for free agency until after the 2025 season.

It's also reasonable to question whether Bichette, with a .237 batting average, four home runs and 28 RBIs in 66 games, is desirable enough for contending teams to put together an enticing trade package for the 26-year-old shortstop.

Bichette entered the 2024 season with a career .299 batting average and two All-Star appearances in three full major league seasons. He also has a much longer track record at shortstop than Betts, who was moved to the position he's never played regularly at the major-league level in spring training.

Betts is expected to miss 4 to 6 weeks with a fractured hand, which he sustained Sunday when he was hit by a 98-mph fastball from Kansas City Royals pitcher Dan Altavilla. That timetable puts him on track to return sometime in August, most likely.

That ought to give Betts plenty of time to return before the Dodgers' first playoff game. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said in May that he's not inclined to acquire a shortstop before then; his Blue Jays counterpart, GM Ross Atkins, said earlier this month that trading Bichette or Vladimir Guerrero Jr. did not make sense.

It's unclear whether the Bichette injury will hinder teams' interest in doing a deal, to the extent the interest existed at all. The Dodgers could easily wait on Betts' return and stick to their original plan of letting him play out the season at shortstop.

At the very least, they'll need another seven days at minimum to evaluate whether they would be better served this year and next with Bichette at shortstop rather than Betts.


Published
J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. HOORNSTRA

J.P. Hoornstra writes and edits Major League Baseball content for Inside the Dodgers, and is the author of 'The 50 Greatest Dodger Games Of All Time.' He once recorded a keyboard solo on the same album as two of the original Doors.