The Blue Jays General Manager released a statement Friday saying that there is “no firm timeline” for the debut of baseball’s top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. the reasoning obviously because of service time issues. It gains the team an extra year of arbitration. If you would like to read the rules of service time, here’s the link——-> http://m.mlb.com/glossary/transactions/service-time
This is the same exact shit that happens all the time to young studs. Back in the early years in Tampa Bay, there was this young and upcoming star named Evan Longoria. Drafted third overall in 2006, he was Major League ready from the time they drafted him. The Devil Rays were garbage up until Longoria made his mark in Tampa Bay. Stogie smoking Aubrey Huff was starting third baseman in 2006 when he was drafted and was traded that same year for two minor leaguers from the Astros, with one of them being Ben Zobrist (pretty solid get) and the other being pitcher Mitch Talbot. The Devil Rays were already clearing room for Longoria, but they weren’t going to promote him and mess up an extra year of control for their future star.
Fast forward two years, in 2008, Longoria was ready. Since the Rays did not have Longoria on their Major League roster to start the season for the first 13 days, they had pushed Longoria’s free agency period a year back to have an extra year of control. It worked and they ended up signing Longoria to the second highest contract ever given to a player who hadn’t had more than one year of service time. The contract was a six-year $17.5 million contract and was bested by Daisuke Matsuzaka formerly of the Red Sox who gave him a six-year $52 million contract. We saw how that panned out. The rest was history as the Rays made it to the World Series for the first and only time in their franchise history and had a nucleus to build on in Longoria. Then Carl Crawford left and his career ended. Can’t forget that.
Fast forward to 2019 and we have somewhat of the same issue. There’s a baseball player that is in the Blue Jays Minor League system who started the year in rookie ball and ended up all the way up to Triple-A by the end of the season. In 2018, at the age of 19, batted a total .381/.437/.636 with 20 bombs and 29 doubles. To say he tore up the Minor League would be disrespectful. He fucked shit up in the Minor Leagues. To everyone that played with or against him could most likely tell there isn’t much competition left for him in the Minor Leagues and that is including coaches. Baseball just happens to be a business that is a sport. Even if Vlad is ready, which he is, he will not be traveling up north with the big league team when camp breaks all because of the owners and General Managers have a job to do as well.
I look at it as Vlad is on a treadmill. He has already accomplished this speed on the treadmill but the treadmill doesn’t go any faster until someone comes in and changes the pace. That someone could be the General Manager or the Manager to step in and say “we gotta let this kid sprint his ass off to see how fast he can go” Once that happens, he will be fun to watch. Toronto Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman even vouched for Vlad to make the trip up North with the big league club saying
“I hope everybody in this organization is doing the same. I hope they are putting us on the field with the best team possible to go out there and compete against the Yankees and the Red Sox.” -Marcus Stroman
Whether that be speaking about Vlad or not, Vlad 100% makes the team better without a doubt. The Blue Jays currently have Brandon Drury scheduled to start the season at third base. He is not a bad option and has shown he can hit and do just about everything else including being versatile so even though he is on top of the depth chart at third, it shouldn’t make a difference.
Should Major League Baseball make a change for the top 5-10 prospects in all of baseball with no service time have a special rule made up where service time doesn’t matter? They already have a “Super Two” rule where they take the top 22% of players with more than two but less than three years of service time to become arbitration eligible. Just something to think about especially with the type of player Vlad is and I’m sure there will be more players just like him in years to come. What do you think? Thank you.