In what's been a bad season overall for the Los Angeles Angels, one positive that's come from the season is they know they have their future shortstop on their hands in Zach Neto. The rookie can hit, defend, run, and the team plays so much better when he's out there.
It comes as no surprise to see the Angels fall almost completely out of the postseason picture without Neto. The Angels expect Neto back at some point this season, but as of now there's no clear timeline. With that in mind, they've been starting Luis Rengifo, but could use another shortstop.
In light of Bo Bichette's injury, the Toronto Blue Jays acquired Paul DeJong in a trade with the Cardinals at the trade deadline. After appearing in just 13 games for the Jays, DeJong has been DFA'd by the club. He could make a lot of sense for the Angels.
LA Angels should steer clear of recently DFA'd Blue Jays shortstop
At one point in time, Paul DeJong looked like a potential future star at the shortstop position. He's always been a strong defender, but he finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting in 2017 and he smacked 30 home runs in the 2019 season while earning his first and only all-star appearance.
Since that 2019 season, DeJong hasn't been the same guy. He hasn't hit much at all, and that caused St. Louis to ship him off to Toronto at the deadline. The Blue Jays acquired DeJong wanting him to just play a decent shortstop in Bichette's absence, but the 30-year-old really struggled, recording just three hits in 44 at-bats before being let go.
His numbers with St. Louis weren't all that bad. He had a .710 OPS with 13 home runs and a 92 OPS+ in 81 games before really seeing his numbers tank with the Blue Jays. A below-average bat who can occasionally hit one out while playing elite defense sounds good, but I'm not sure how much value he'd really have on this team.
The way things are for the Angels right now, shortstop is their biggest hole with Neto out. Luis Rengifo, a player who simply is not a shortstop, is there now because of his bat. His offense is why the Angels cannot remove him from the lineup. I suppose they could do something like sticking Rengifo in right while adding DeJong to play shortstop moving Hunter Renfroe to the bench, but I think I'd rather bank on a Renfroe hot streak.
DeJong adds the defense Velazquez is supposed to add but doesn't add the speed element. How valuable is an inning or two from DeJong defensively that makes him a worthwhile claim? DeJong is a better player than Velazquez for sure, but whether he's a better fit or not is something I'm not quite sure of. The Angels are probably better off sticking with what they have and just bringing someone else up to replace Velazquez on the active roster.