This doesn't come as a shock to anyone, but the Toronto Blue Jays essentially made it clear that top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will not be starting the season with the major league club, even if he tears through Spring Training and continues to look like the superstar we believe he already is.
#BlueJays GM Ross Atkins on Vladimir Guerrero Jr:— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) February 14, 2019
“There’s no firm timeline on when he arrives or when he is playing in Toronto for the first time, but we want to make sure he’s the best possible third baseman and the best possible hitter he can be.”
Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins spoke about Guerrero Jr. Thursday, saying there is "no firm timeline" and that the Jays "want to make sure he's the best possible third baseman and the best possible hitter he can be" before he can join the squad.
Oh, so they are using the Kris Bryant approach and talking about how he needs to improve his defense. Gotcha.
Guerrero may not be an elite defender, but we are talking about someone who is the top prospect in baseball and
The @BlueJays will keep Vlad Guerrero Jr. down in Triple-A until he can't accrue a full year of service time in 2019, thereby pushing back his arbitration and free agency clock a year. #MLB https://t.co/rso1KB1HlP pic.twitter.com/n3tHNvQVaG— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) February 14, 2019
Barring an injury of some kind, Vlad Guerrero Jr. will be brought up to the big leagues once he officially can't accrue a full year of service time (a few weeks deep in the campaign), which will push back his arbitration and free agency clock another year.
You understand why teams do this and they'd be stupid if they didn't, especially clubs that aren't expected to compete. However, it doesn't make the system any less stupid. MLB needs to promote the young stars of the game, and they should be in the big leagues when they are ready.
Nobody bought Toronto's excuse for not calling him up last September, and nobody is buying what they are selling today.