With less than 24 hours to go before the 2023 trade deadline, the AL playoff chase may have just been turned on its ear. Toronto Blue Jays superstar Bo Bichette was forced to leave Monday’s crucial game against the Baltimore Orioles due to a non-contact knee injury. Bichette was rounding first base after a single in the bottom of the third inning when he suddenly pulled up lame and began heavily favoring his left knee.
Bo Bichette has left the game with an apparent leg injury after rounding first base. pic.twitter.com/rFsZWMxvZ3— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) August 1, 2023
The team has only diagnosed Bichette with right knee discomfort for now, but we’ll presumably know more once the shortstop undergoes further evaluation. Given the nature of the injury and how much pain Bichette seemed to be in, though, things certainly don’t look great.
It goes without saying that any sort of absence would be a crippling blow to a Blue Jays team that entered Monday 5.5 games back of the O’s in the AL East and two games up in the loss column on the division rival Boston Red Sox for the third and final AL Wild Card spot. In a season marred by frustrating inconsistency, Bichette has been Toronto’s one constant, with a .318/.350/.492 slash line and 17 homers in a team-leading 105 games. He leads the AL in batting average, hits and plate appearances, and in a world where Shohei Ohtani didn’t exist, he’d be garnering legitimate AL MVP consideration.
Santiago Espinal replaced Bichette in the lineup on Monday and would likely be Toronto’s temporary shortstop if the 25-year-old was indeed forced to miss time. The team doesn’t really have another natural shortstop on its roster, and we could very well see them address the position in the hours before the trade deadline depending on Bichette’s diagnosis. (They did just respond to Jordan Romano’s IL stint by going out and acquiring Cardinals closer Jordan Hicks, after all.) It’s a thin crop of middle infielders, though, with White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson likely the best option available.