Blue Jays: Age is just a number, shouldn’t matter for Vladimir Guerrero Jr
While I understand why the Blue Jays plan to hold Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in Triple-A to start the season, I’m getting pretty tired of hearing the excuses.
Whether you are talking about the Blue Jays or any other team, over the years I’ve gotten pretty used to general managers talking to the media and having to take what they’re saying with a grain of salt. It makes sense when you’re trying not to show your hand, or when you’re trying to explain decisions made by your bosses without making them look bad. I get that.
I also understand what’s going on with the Blue Jays and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. right now, and how the team plans on sending him to Triple-A Buffalo to start the season. It’s a decision being made in the interest of putting off his eligibility for free agency by an additional year, and a move that’s technically still playing by the rules. I can understand why the Blue Jays would do this, and while I don’t like the decision much at all, it makes sense from a business perspective.
What I’m having a hard time taking even remotely seriously is the front office trying to make up excuses for the decision they’re making. I understand that they don’t want to just come out and say, “we’re manipulating his contract”, but maybe that would feel less ridiculous than what we’re hearing right now.
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Ross Atkins spoke on Siriux XM yesterday and talked about the number one prospect in the game. True to form, Atkins talked about how his budding star needed some more developmental time, and typically it’s been his defence that has been used as the excuse for why he needs more minor league seasoning. However, in this case Atkins flat out said, “I just don’t see him as a major league player. He’s 19.”
C’mon man, we’re not that stupid and it’s getting harder to listen to this kinda stuff.
Atkins then goes on to refer to Guerrero’s defence at third base needing development, as well as other facets of his game. He also talked about the desire to provide the foundation for a “15 to 20 year career”.
I can understand what he’s trying to do, but honestly at this point it feels like he should be saying as little as possible when the question is asked. It’s probably going to be the most frequently asked question that he gets until Guerrero finally gets promoted, but it’s hard not to roll your eyes when you hear Atkins say that he doesn’t seem him as a big leaguer just yet.
If the GM actually believes his statement to be true, he’s certainly in the minority. If you have a look at the projections from Fangraphs for example, they have Guerrero projected to be a top 10 hitter in all of baseball, even if he’s still a teenager for another few weeks. Sure, he could probably use a little more development in the other areas of his game, but what’s stopping him from doing that in the big leagues? As long as he’s not overwhelmed, there is no harm in him taking some lumps and learning against the best in the game, especially in a year when the Jays aren’t planning on contending.
Leaving him in the minor leagues won’t be much of a help at this stage of his development, especially if it’s only going to be for a few weeks. If the Blue Jays want to use that strategy to gain an extra year of contract control then I can understand that, even if I don’t like it. But don’t tell us he’s not ready to be a big leaguer yet. Nobody is buying that anymore.