Blue Jays: Pros and Cons Calling up Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Should The Jays Call up Vladimir Guerrero Jr?
The Blue Jays' stock is going way down but Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s keeps going way up. The 19-year-old wunderkind is currently out with an injury but has been tearing up the AAs with a .409 batting average, 30 extra-base hits, and 11 homers in just 229 plate appearances.
As the Jays enter June, they find themselves in a predicament sitting at 26-33 and at least ten games behind the second wild card spot. They need all the help they can get but should they call up Vladimir Guerrero Jr.?
Pro: Improve a Stagnating Jays' Offence
The hot start was mostly thanks to the Jays offence. At one point, the team was second in the league in homers and fourth in runs scored. But fast forward to the present and the Jays can't buy a run to save the city.
The Jays now rank second-last in the American League with a .229 batting average and have the fourth-most strikeouts (525) in the conference. Several key rotation players like Russell Martin (.174) and Devon Travis (.200) are having abysmal seasons on the plate and star player Josh Donaldson has been in-and-out of the DL.
Guerrero Jr. not only brings some much-needed muscle but some youthful energy as well. Plugging him in the lineup could kickstart the offence and at best, gets the Jays back to contender status, and at worst, at least makes them an exciting team again.
Con: It Won't Do Much For the Team's Success
The Jays need to aim for at least 90 wins to qualify for the playoffs. At 26-33, the Jays need to go 64-39 (.621) for the rest of the season. They already play against the twin-headed monsters that is the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox in the division but must also beat out the suddenly-improved Seattle Mariners for that final wild card spot.
Even if Guerrero Jr. gets off to a hot start in the majors, it won't necessarily translate to wins. As of June 4, the Blue Jays are 10 games behind the second wild card spot and have lost 15 of their last 20 games including a four-game sweep at the hands of the mediocre Athletics.
It's not only the offence that has been weak but the pitching from both the starters and the bullpen. The Jays are sixth-last in the MLB in ERA (4.77) and fifth-last in WHIP (1.44) and quality starts (19). As much as Guerrero Jr. can contribute offensively, he won't be fixing the Jays' pitching struggles.
Pro: Create Much-Needed Optimism about the Franchise
Jays fans need something to believe in again. Entering the season, ticket sales were down and the opening weekend couldn't even sell out. The franchise parted ways with fan favourites Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion over the past two seasons and had their worst season in four years.
Even more key figures like Josh Donaldson and Marcus Stroman could be playing their final season in Toronto and much-loved closer Roberto Osuna quickly vilified himself with a domestic abuse scandal. On top of all of this, the Jays stink and are stuck between a desperate ploy for the last wild card spot or blowing it all up and tanking.
These are truly trying times to be a Jays fan.
That's when Guerrero Jr. enters. Like a cool breeze on a sweltering summer day, Guerrero Jr. will remind fans what to be optimistic about. He's not going to lead the Jays to the playoffs but he'll provide enough excitement that's enough to keep fans invested for the rest of the season.
Con: Using up Service Time for Little Returns
Once Guerrero Jr. joins the main roster, his service time clock starts ticking. Calling him now means the Jays accrue the 172 days, which means the Jays only get to keep him until the end of the 2024 season as opposed to waiting until maybe the middle of 2019 so it extends his stay to the end of 2025.
The Jays not only need to bolster their bats but create excitement among the jaded fans. But potentially sacrificing a generational talent when he's about to hit his prime for negligible short-term gains is reckless. The Jays will sell more tickets, merchandise, and boost fan interest but they won't be winning.
Winning sells itself. The Jays can instead cut their losses this season, move Donaldson, Stroman and other assets and rebuild for the next five seasons. Guerrero Jr. will continue to captivate in the minors and the Jays offer fans a more satisfying long-term payoff.
Patience comes to those who wait.
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Catch the Blue Jays in action on Rogers Sportsnet as the Vladimir Guerrero Jr. watch continues. Canadians can look to online sportsbooks to wager on Jays and MLB games anytime and anywhere. Live betting is available as well as props. Check the link for more details.
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