The Toronto Blue Jays accomplished what they set out to do at the start of this season. Which is to gain an extra year of control over the number one ranked prospect in baseball, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
A player needs to spend 172 days on a major league roster to count as a year of service time. If Guerrero Jr. is called up today he would reach the maximum of 171 days. But just because his eligibility for free agency is now pushed back an extra year don’t expect to see him in Toronto quite yet.
Entering spring training multiple franchises with top prospects were seeing pressure concerning service time manipulation. The Blue Jays were the team seeing the most pressure as Guerrero Jr. proved last year he was ready to face major league pitching after slashing .381/.437/1.073 across four levels.
But Guerrero Jr. straining his oblique on March 8th against the Pirates forced him to miss the rest of spring training and erased any chance of him making the opening day roster. The San Diego Padres and the Chicago White Sox both ended up adding their prospects in question, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Eloy Jimenez to their opening day roster instead of playing the service time game.
With the White Sox inking Jimenez to a six year contract with $43 million guaranteed. The contract has two club options and can max out at $77 million.
While Blue Jays fans will want to see their number one prospect right away, they might need to remain patient. Guerrero Jr. has only played six games in the minor leagues this year (two in AAA Buffalo) since returning from his injury.
Blue Jays management are in no rush to bring Guerrero Jr. to the major leagues, they have already proven that. It would not surprise me to see them keep him down for a little while longer to let him get into a rhythm at the plate before he makes his highly anticipated major league debut.
If I were to make a prediction on when Blue Jays fans can expect to finally see Guerrero Jr. in Toronto I would say the weekend series with the Oakland Athletics beginning on April 26th.