John Schneider reveals plan for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at 3B moving forward

Pittsburgh Pirates v Toronto Blue Jays
Pittsburgh Pirates v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

Manager John Schneider turned heads last Sunday when he assigned Vladimir Guerrero Jr., three-time All-Star first baseman, to play third base in the series finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Since Sunday, Vlad has made another start at 3rd, accumulating 17 innings at the position so far. Third base depth was an issue for the Jays moving into the 2024 season, with the loss of former Platinum-glover Matt Chapman inking a new deal with the San Francisco Giants in the off-season. Still, the Jays have been able to manage, with players such as Isiah Kiner-Falefa filling the role nicely.

Vladdy's no stranger to the position, coursing through the minors and coming up to the majors as a third baseman before eventually being moved over to first in 2020. Although moving Vladdy back to third opens up alot of opportunities depth-wise, it doesn't seem like it'll be a permanent shift, and will only be occasional. Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith covered the scoop from John Schneider.

Vlad moving over to the hot corner opens up alot of offensive opportunities for the Blue Jays. As it stands currently, the Jays have two premium catchers in Alejandro Kirk and Danny Jansen. Although it's been a rough start for Kirk this year, as he's currently sporting a 69 wRC+ with only one homerun in 117 plate appearances, he's been excellent defensively. Kirk currently ranks in the 95th percentile in both Framing and Caught Stealing above average and ranks in the 88th percentile in Blocks above average.

On the flipside, Jansen has been excellent offensively. Although he's been cooling off, Jano's had an explosive start: batting to a 142 wRC+ with five home runs and 13 RBI. Not to say Jansen hasn't been good defensively, but Vladdy moving to 3rd can let Jansen do what he's been doing best with the bat at designated hitter while letting Kirk get more reps behind the plate, maximizing both of their values.

Furthermore, the shift would allow struggling players such as Justin Turner take more days off and allow our bench players such as Daniel Vogelbach to be used more. Vogey has had his ups and downs to the year so far, but he's an important part of the Blue Jays roster. He not only provides lefty-depth, but is one of the Jays most patient and disciplined hitters, scoring high in BB%, chase rate and whiff rate.

Offense certianly needs to pick up if the Blue Jays are going to contend this year. While some have speculated that the Jays may sell this year, Vladdy moving back to his old position opens up alot of opportunities for other players to do what they do best. Who knows, if Vladdy can pick up some slack at third, it may signal a change in direction for the front office come trade deadline.