Report: Vlad Guerrero Jr could file grievance against Blue Jays
Few players in the history of MLB have dominated the minor leagues the way Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has.
The 19-year-old made his minor league debut for the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization as a 17-year-old in 2016 playing in rookie ball. He performed well, batting .271 with an .808 OPS. The following year he batted .323 with a .910 OPS across two levels in Single-A.
Guerrero then took a major step forward this year, absolutely hammering the pitching in Double-A with an astounding .402 average and 1.122 OPS in 61 games. The way he looked, he probably could have made the jump from Double-A straight to MLB and hit the ground running. Instead, the Jays sent him to Triple-A, where he continued to dominate with a .336 average and .980 OPS in 30 games.
Guerrero’s standout season seemed to show he was ready for the big leagues, but the Jays declined to call him up when rosters expanded in September. Many thought Toronto’s decision was a clear case of playing time manipulation.
According to Fancred Sports’ Jon Heyman, Guerrero could file a grievance against Toronto over the issue.
The Toronto Star already addressed the matter a few weeks ago, saying that Guerrero would not win a grievance. Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro has defended the team’s decision, saying it was based on a player development path rather than business reasons.
Had the Jays called Guerrero up early, he could have gotten his service time clock ticking early and potentially qualified to hit free agency after six years. Instead, if the Jays delay Guerrero’s call up by a few weeks next year, they could retain his rights for an extra season.
Guerrero is not the first player who has fallen victim to such manipulation. From Kris Bryant to Byron Buxton, many young stars go through the same thing. The Blue Jays can deny all they want — and they might prevail in a grievance case — but we all know that their decision had everything to do with service time manipulation rather than player development, and that stinks for Vlad, the fans, and baseball in general.