Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Predicting no Vladimir Guerrero Jr. until 2019

MIAMI, FL - JULY 09: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays and the World Team scores on an RBI single by Josh Naylor #14 of the San Diego Padres and the World Team in the fifth inning against the U.S. Team during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Marlins Park on July 9, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JULY 09: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays and the World Team scores on an RBI single by Josh Naylor #14 of the San Diego Padres and the World Team in the fifth inning against the U.S. Team during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Marlins Park on July 9, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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The latest rumour about Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is that the Blue Jays are considering moving him to Triple-A within the next month. This leads me to believe that we won’t see him in the majors until 2019, and maybe not on Opening day either.

I can’t recall a recent season when the Blue Jays roster was as debated as it has been this year, but losing has a way of having that effect on fans and writers. Whether it was the discussion about designating Kendrys Morales for assignment, where Teoscar Hernandez and/or Randal Grichuk belonged at different points in the season, or which youngster should play in the middle infield, the debates have been plentiful.

The biggest argument of all has been what to do with Vladimir Guerrero Jr, who has torn Double-A apart all year long. The 19 year old is slashing a remarkable .409/.461/.677 through his first 51 games played, adding 11 home runs, 18 doubles, and 54 RBI on the young season. At times he’s made it look like child’s play, which has only thrown fuel on the fire for fans wanting to see him promoted to the big leagues.

While it’s hard to debate whether or not his bat is ready for the highest level, there are plenty of other factors at play here. The biggest discussions have surrounded developing his defence and making sure he has regular playing time wherever he is. The biggest long term question is about his service time, and how long the Blue Jays can control his contract within their organization.

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If the Blue Jays had promoted Guerrero to start the season, something that was never going to happen, he would have been a free agent for the 2023-24 offseason. As things stands now, he would be a free agent the winter of 2024-25, if the Blue Jays promoted him before the end of the season.

Over at www.cbssports.com, Matt Synder points to the latest news from Jon Morosi that Guerrero may make a move to Triple-A soon, and uses it to make an argument that I agree with. I don’t think the Blue Jays will call up Guerrero until at least the second week of the 2019 season.

We saw it this year in Atlanta with another extremely talented youngster in Ronald Acuna. Acuna was one of the Braves’ best hitters during spring training, but found himself stashed in Triple-A until April 25th of this season. By bringing him up when they did, the Braves have secured an extra year with Acuna in Atlanta, which obviously has a ton of value. Synder argues that the Blue Jays will do the same thing with Guerrero next year, and uses Kris Bryant‘s delayed promotion to the Cubs a few years ago as another example. It makes a lot of sense, even if it’s a little unfair to talented young ballplayers.

The unfortunate reality for the Blue Jays is they entered Tuesday’s games already 15.5 games behind the Red Sox in the division, and 10 games back of the second Wild Card spot. They’re going to have to play very well in June in order to convince the front office to not only be buyer’s before the trade deadline, but to bring up a talented kid like Guerrero. Sure, he could help the team right now, but does it matter if the Blue Jays are going to be out of the playoff race anyway?

There’s an argument to be made that he would be a reward that the fans deserve after a few years of league leading attendance totals, but the good vibes at the Rogers Centre have lessened this year as well, and the only thing that’s really going to change that is winning. The front office pointed to the fan support as the reason why they didn’t tear things down this winter, and it’s doubtful they’re going to start making more decisions based on pleasing the fans, not when things are going the way they have.

Next: Promising starting depth in the minors

Chances are that Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins will do what they believe is best for the Blue Jays long term, and that likely includes keeping Guerrero in their uniform as long as humanly possible. For that reason, I don’t think we’ll see him in Toronto until the end of April next season, but I’d be happy to be wrong about it too.

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