Vladimir Guerrero Jr Officially Signs with Blue Jays

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*Featured image via Matthew Marotta- special to Bleacher Report

For those of you who were waiting to hear some big news from the Toronto Blue Jays, you will be pleasantly surprised today. Although, the club did not pull of  a big trade for pitching help, it did come to terms with international prospect, Vladimir Guerrero Jr for $3.9M! It was a day full of on and off again excitement. There were reports that the deal was done, then it wasn’t, then it was.

Sportsnet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith sent out word that the two sides had already agreed:

But, that turned out to be false, or at least premature, report. Nicholson-Smith’s citing Jesse Sanchez seemed odd, since at that time, Sanchez had yet to share that information. But, Sanchez did release word via MLB.com that a deal was in place awaiting the particulars. Then, the player’s rep, Guerrero Academy, tweeted that he would NOT be signing today.

News had been leaking that the Blue Jays would had an agreement to sign the son of former MLB great, Vladimir Guerrero for a while now. Today it became official as the International Signing Period opened up today at 9amET. Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com has been updating us all morning. It wasn’t until much later in the day that word finally came.

According to MLBPipeline’s Top 30 International Prospect list, Guerrero Jr ranked 4th. The 16 year old shows signs of the swing that made his father such a dangerous hitter. And, at such a young age, his body (6’0″/ 220lbs) looks to be ready. He’s already a big, strong, dude. Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com says that Guerrero can hit a ball “wherever it is thrown”. And, he can absolutely crush! Take a look:

Here’s a video of his Sept/’14 tryout for scouts:

Just for fun, here’s a clip of him honing his hand-eye coordination by hitting balls as they bounce to him.

Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs.com scouted Vlad Jr in January, 2014 and had this to say about him: 

More from Jays Journal

"“his bat speed and raw power have also further developed to possibly both be best in the class.  He doesn’t have the ridiculous arm strength of his father and may eventually have to move to first base from the outfield.  It’s mostly bat here and some scouts think the rumored price is too steep, but every scout I talked to agrees that he’s one of the best, if not the best bat in the class.”"

If his bat has improved beyond this evaluation from a year ago, Blue Jays fans should be very excited about this youngster. The Blue Jays clearly are with the amount they’ve committed to him. According to Baseball America, the club had $2.34M to play with in their pool. By overspending now, the Blue Jays will limit their future spending power in the future much like the Red Sox and Yankees have done recently. Those clubs are limited to $300K this year thanks to previous deals.

The penalty works thusly (via MLBTR.com): “Clubs that spend over their allotment face escalating penalties, ranging from taxes on overages (up to 100%) to a two-year ban on $300K+ international bonuses (for going over 15% above the total allocation).” So, one could hardly blame the Blue Jays for haggling (if that is indeed what was happening) since the overage could impact them for the next couple years. If they do blow past their allotment and are penalized, it would make sense for them to go nuts and make the hit really count. Which means, they could do more than just this signing. That is not to say that they will, but it would make sense. Especially when you consider that today they also sent Chase de Jong and Tim Locastro to the Dodgers for international pool money. This might allow them to avoid two years worth of penalties.

So, the Blue Jays are banking on the raw talent and power of Guerrero Jr to progress into a solid major league piece in the future. While he may have to move to first base, his progression will be fun to watch. It will be interesting to see where the Blue Jays start him off. There is no need to rush him at such a young age. While his videos are impressive, we have to remember that he’ll have a lot of adjustment to do in order to make his way to the big league club and stay there. Regardless, this is a big signing for the Blue Jays; one that is reason to get excited about the future.

The Blue Jays weren’t done on the day, either. They signed themselves a SS too:

Next: Comparing Blue Jays Starters to Potential Trade Targets

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