Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr’s reassignment is a formality, for now

SURPRISE, AZ - NOVEMBER 03: AFL West All-Star, Vladimir Guerrero Jr #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays warms up during the Arizona Fall League All Star Game at Surprise Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
SURPRISE, AZ - NOVEMBER 03: AFL West All-Star, Vladimir Guerrero Jr #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays warms up during the Arizona Fall League All Star Game at Surprise Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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On Thursday the Blue Jays announced that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had been reassigned to minor league camp, a formality after his oblique strain last week.

Now that we’re just two weeks away from the first pitch of the 2019 season we’re starting to see teams whittle down their rosters as Opening Day gets closer. With that, many of the young players that won’t be playing in the big leagues to start the year have been reassigned to minor league camp, which we’ve already watched the Blue Jays start to do as well.

On Thursday we saw a headline that many of us have been dreading all winter that read, “Vladimir Guerrero Jr. reassigned to minor league camp”, which obviously doesn’t have the same meaning that it would have before his injury last week.

Prior to straining the oblique muscle in his left leg, Guerrero Jr. was arguably the most hotly discussed player in baseball. The Blue Jays had plans to start his season in Triple-A Buffalo, and whether they would admit it or not, it was because his spending a few weeks in the minor leagues could give them an extra year of contract control. It’s a frowned upon practice, but for the moment it’s still not against the rules, and I can’t blame the Blue Jays for what they had planned, even if I wasn’t a fan of it.

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That’s all a moot point now however, as Guerrero likely won’t be back on a diamond for a couple more weeks at the earliest, and he’ll need some time in the minor leagues to tune up and catch up with the rest of the game, especially before he takes on the challenge of big league pitching.

As I mentioned the other day, Guerrero Jr’s injury may actually represent a break for the front office, because they won’t have to worry as much about a contentious reaction from their top prospect at the idea of being sent back down, and they won’t be as easily used as an example when the next time CBA talks roll around. I’d never wish an injury on anyone, especially a player as young and talented as Guerrero, but it might have made things easier for Ross Atkins in the long run.

For now he’ll continue to rest and heal, and when he’s ready to ramp things up again I’m sure the Blue Jays will be willing to dedicate every resource they have to making sure he has what he needs to get healthy. Fortunately for the Blue Jays, he can do that from minor league camp, and his reassignment now becomes nothing more than time for him to heal. If he toils if Buffalo for long after getting himself in game shape then perhaps it becomes an issue again, but for now that’s something to deal with if it happens.

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Hopefully this whole issue will become a distant memory in time, but for now I’m sure Atkins and company are breathing a small sigh of relief.