Blue Jays: Five questions fans are asking with spring games approaching
By Nathan Hamel
How long will fans have to wait to see Vlad Jr. in Toronto?
Taking on the role of baseball’s latest wonderkid and unanimous top prospect, Guerrero demolished every level of the minors he saw in 2018 and has absolutely nothing left to prove outside of the major leagues. Without a doubt he deserves to start the year in Toronto; I know it, you know it, and the Jays front office knows it too.
Despite all of this, Guerrero will man the hot corner in Buffalo for at least the first two weeks of the season in order to prevent him from collecting a whole year of major league service time. When Guerrero does receive the call, his first appearance will be the most anticipated game the franchise has seen since their latest playoff runs. This poses the question: when exactly will Vladimir Guerrero Jr. make the trip north to Toronto?
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith wrote an article with this explanation:
"“The 2019 season will last 186 days. Anything more than 171 days of service time and Guerrero Jr. gets a full year of big-league time in 2019. That means he has to spend at least 15 days in the minors (186 – 171 = 15). The regular season includes four days in March. Add in 11 days in April, and Guerrero Jr. would miss the requisite 15. That means the soonest Guerrero Jr. could safely debut is Friday, April 12, a home game against the Rays.”"
If Guerrero were to make his first major league appearance in a Friday night home game against a division rival, the city of Toronto would enter a state of chaos. Fans would be rushing to buy tickets and jerseys emblazoned with the number 27 on the back. It’s not a stretch to think that we could see a sold out Rogers Centre for Vlad’s debut.
Nicholson-Smith goes on to explain that it is unlikely Guerrero is with the Blue Jays on April 12th, saying that the front office may wish to avoid any grief from the MLB players association regarding the Jays manipulating the service time of their top prospect. Something the front office should consider is calling up Guerrero for the afternoon game against the Rays on April 14th, allowing fans to see their future star’s debut at home before the team heads on a seven game road trip where Vlad Jr. would have a more relaxed environment to settle in with the team.
It’s safe to say we will see Guerrero at some point in April, but his exact debut date is up in the air.