The Toronto Blue Jays will face the fury of both their fan base and other Major League Baseball players if stud youngster Vladimir Guerrero Jr. doesn’t break camp with the big league team.
A lot has been made of MLB teams manipulating the service-time clause in the current collective bargaining agreement. Even at 19 years old, Vlad has more than proven himself to be ready for the show.
Despite this, the Jays continue to push back against that idea. The latest example is this absolutely absurd take from general manager Ross Atkins indicating that Guerrero is not ready for the bigs.
GM Ross Atkins: Vlad Guerrero Jr. is not a Major League player right now…
… not yet. pic.twitter.com/ydqZdvXFro
— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) February 26, 2019
“It really comes down to development. I just don’t see him as a major league player. You just pencil him in and he’s done,” Atkins said. “He’s 19. He has accomplished everything he can accomplish as an offensive player. And there’s so many opportunities for him defensively and what he can do to really maximize the power, the size and the strength that he has.”
Huh? Atkins is saying he doesn’t see Vlad as a major league player while also noting “he has accomplished everything he can accomplish as an offensive player.”
In what world does that make sense? Other youngsters have struggled in the field. This wouldn’t be new to the teenager.
At the plate, Guerrero absolutely dominated at all levels of the minors. Last season alone, he hit .381 with 20 homers, 78 RBI, a .437 OBP and 1.073 OPS in just 95 games. That included a .336/.414/.978 split at Triple-A.
Atkins and the Jays’ organization think that they are fooling people by saying it comes down to development. There’s nothing more that Vlad can develop by dominating lesser competition in the minors.
It’s that simple.
For once, it would be refreshing for a team to say it’s all about maintaining control over a player rather than throw out these blatant non-truths.