Blue Jays: Using common sense with Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - MAY 14: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts after hitting a single in the second inning of their MLB game at Oracle Park on May 14, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - MAY 14: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts after hitting a single in the second inning of their MLB game at Oracle Park on May 14, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

As you likely heard, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. didn’t play on Victoria Day at the Rogers Centre yesterday. The Blue Jays have some work to do on how to handle their young star.

There have already been plenty of opinions thrown around about Vladimir Guerrero Jr. not playing yesterday against the Red Sox, however, let’s recap why folks thought it was such a short-sighted decision.

First, Victoria Day is a National holiday in Canada, and with the Blue Jays playing at home it was an opportunity for the ballpark to fill up on a Monday afternoon (which it did relative to their usual attendance lately), and for fans to tune in at home on their television sets. Not having the best player in the lineup is a major bummer for excited fans.

Secondly, the Blue Jays were starting a series against their division-rival Red Sox, and setting the tone for the rest of the games with a 12-2 loss isn’t the best way to start out. Not that Vlad Jr. could have made the difference, but it would have given fans something to be excited about. As an added bonus, the Jays were facing off against a southpaw in David Price, which should have been an opportunity for the young hitter to continue his hot-hitting ways lately.

More from Jays Journal

I’ve read everything from a “routine day off”, to a “planned strategy to maximize his output this season”, but let’s call a spade a spade here. Sitting him down for this game makes no sense, and I can’t figure out how someone on the coaching staff didn’t win the argument in favour of having him in there. Surely there had to have been someone in the clubhouse or the front office that aren’t in favour of starting him on Monday?

There is a section of the fan base that would say “it doesn’t matter anyway” with the Blue Jays in a rebuilding year, but I would argue that’s not the case, even if we’re just talking about a single game.

If the front office is really committed to a long-term rebuild and wants to keep the fan base engaged, Vlad Jr. is one of, if not their best tool in order to do that. Watching him hit, even as a 20-year-old rookie, has already become a “stop what you’re doing and pay attention” event. That’s the type of thing that can salvage the fan experience on a holiday Monday, even when they’ve witnessed a 12-2 drubbing at the hands of the Red Sox.

I know he can’t play every game and that giving him scheduled rest is something fans will have to deal with whether they like it or not. Adjusting to the rigours of a 162 game season is not an easy task for any new big leaguers, and when it comes with the hype and pressure that the young phenom has faced, sitting him down on occasion is going to happen.

Charlie Montoyo and the rest of the coaching staff will have to figure out how to handle having potentially one of the game’s biggest stars on their roster, especially while he’s still developing at such a young age. They’ll learn together when he needs to have a pinch-hitter, or who knows, maybe a defensive replacement someday, but for now I hope they use one guiding principle above everything, even the analytics department.

Next. Javy Guerra claimed by the Washington Nationals. dark

All I ask is a little common sense, and sitting Vladimir Guerrero Jr. yesterday, even in a relatively meaningless game, seems like an odd decision to me, and I’m sure the 26,794 in attendance on Monday would agree.

facebooktwitterreddit