Vladimir Guerrero Jr. shares disappointing update regarding contract extension talks

Feb 26, 2024; Dunedin, Florida, USA;  Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (27)
Feb 26, 2024; Dunedin, Florida, USA; Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (27) / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. are both faces of the Toronto Blue Jays; of that there is very little doubt.

Both of these talented young stars are also on track to hit free agency following the conclusion of the 2025 campaign, which will be here before you know it. The Blue Jays' current contention window is closing, and fast, especially for as long as neither of these players are locked up for the long run.

Not so long ago, Guerrero beat the Blue Jays in what has been described as a "tense" arbitration battle. The first baseman will earn $19.9M during the 2024 campaign, a whopping $5.4M raise from what he was making last season.

As relayed by ESPN's Enrique Rojas, Guerrero has insisted that he has no hard feeling towards the Jays despite the fact that negotiations were tough. In most instances, players are forced to sit there and listen to why their team doesn't think they deserve the money they're asking for. It's easy to see why things can be tense before, during and after the hearings.

More noteworthy, though, is the fact that Vladdy said the Blue Jays have yet to make a formal extension offer. This is a bit of a surprising development, as Guerrero has made three All-Star Games, took home a Silver Slugger and a second-place finish in the MVP voting all before turning 25-years old.

The window is rapidly closing for the Blue Jays to get a deal done with Guerrero (and Bichette, for that matter). There are regularly a ton of players out there that refuse to negotiate contract extensions during the regular season because they feel that it throws them off their game and distracts them. If the Jays and Guerrero are going to come together on a deal, it's likely that it won't come until next offseason - assuming Vlad is one of those players who prefers offseason negotiations.

Playing devil's advocate, though, the Blue Jays likely have a very good reason for their lack of offers. In fact, I'm willing to bet that they want to wait and see what the 2024 season has in store from Vlad before throwing a ton of money around.

The fact of the matter is that Guerrero has been above-average with the bat, but fairly inconsistent over the past few seasons. He had an otherworldly performance in 2021, losing out on an MVP Award to Shohei Ohtani, but has since seen his offensive numbers come back to earth fairly significantly.

Last year, Guerrero posted an OPS+ of 117, which is still 17 percent above league average, but a total of 50 points lower than where he was at a few years ago. His batting average didn't even sniff .270 this year and his OPS fell nearly 40 points. He has yet to match, or even come close to, his production from just two seasons ago.

Should Vladdy find a way to rebound and "return to form", so to speak, in 2024, he should make major progress in getting the payday he desires.