The Toronto Blue Jays entered Wednesday with the fourth-worst record in baseball — better than only the Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers, and Baltimore Orioles. Still, the Blue Jays haven’t fully committed to the future yet. To their credit, they have brought up Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio, but Bo Bichette — arguably the second-best shortstop prospect in the game — remains in Triple-A, where he’s hitting .305/.364/.486 through 45 games this season.
Bichette’s absence from the majors was easier to explain earlier in the season, when he missed significant time due to a fractured hand. He’s since proved hearty and hale, however — so why isn’t he in the Show, learning the ropes next to his former minor-league teammates? It’s a question he’s asking himself, as the Blue Jays have not communicated to him what he needs to do in order to trigger his long-awaited promotion. Here’s part of what Bichette told Sportsnet this week:
“Yeah, I’ve done everything they asked me to do,” Bichette said in an interview with Sportsnet. “I’ve performed, I’ve put up numbers. I’ve gotten better offensively, defensively, base-running, as an athlete, as a teammate. Everything they’ve asked me to do, I’ve done for the past three years.
“So, if I’m not ready in their mind, there’s something new that they need to tell me I need to get better at.”
From the Blue Jays perspective, the argument probably concerns their trade deadline plans. Right now, Eric Sogard and Freddy Galvis are playing surprisingly well. Neither figures to sustain their current pace (Sogard has a 131 OPS+; Galvis is at 103), but maybe the Blue Jays can convince some contender to trade for them between now and July 31. As a result, benching or minimizing their roles now — two weeks from the deadline — is counterproductive.
The obvious retort is: if you’re worried about Eric Sogard’s trade value then you’re too far in the weeds — and you’re risking angering an important piece of your future core for no good reason.
Because this is a Mark Shapiro-led team, it’s fair to wonder about the service-time implications. The Super Two threshold has passed, though, meaning the Blue Jays stand to gain no additional control. They can’t further suppress Bichette’s earning potential unless they do something absurd, like keeping him down deep into next spring.
As such, our guess is that the Blue Jays are indeed worried about their veterans’ trade values, as silly and pointless as that sounds. Our advice to the Blue Jays is to communicate as much to Bichette, because when a player is saying things like “If they call me up at 30 instead of 21, I’ll be a better player at 30,” it means he’s probably not going to take kindly to being left in the dark (and/or the minors) for much longer.