Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is not a lock to be on the 2019 Opening Day roster of the Toronto Blue Jays. Below is what team general manager Ross Atkins told reporters:
#BlueJays GM Ross Atkins on Vladimir Guerrero Jr:
“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.”
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) February 14, 2019
Guerrero Jr. is the son of 2004 American League MVP and Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero. He is widely considered the top prospect in the minors and is No. 1 on preseason lists by Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, MLB.com and FanGraphs, per CBSSports.com.
Atkins’ comments indicate the Blue Jays plan to manipulate Vlad Jr.’s service time, which could mean he doesn’t make his major league debut until mid-April. By doing so, the Blue Jays would be able to push back his arbitration and free agency an entire year since he would not accrue a full year of service time in 2019.
Brandon Drury is expected to man third base for the Blue Jays in the interim.
Guerrero slashed .381/.437/.636 with 20 home runs and 78 RBI in 408 minor league plate appearances last year.