Once thought of as one of the most complete players in all of baseball, Vladimir Guerrero is coming closer to wearing a Major League uniform. Late last week, Guerrero was promoted to the Blue Jays’ Triple-A franchise in Las Vegas.
Guerrero, who signed a minor league deal with Toronto on May 10, reported to extended spring training in Florida where he appeared in four games with Class A Dunedin, batting .450 (9-for-20) with a double, four home runs and eight RBIs.
When Guerrero suited up against the Reno Aces, it was actually the first time ever that he has played at the Triple-A level. That’s because he jumped straight from Double-A to the Montreal Expos in his 1996 rookie season. But, don’t expect Guerrero to be in Vegas very long, just long enough to have a positive influence on the Blue Jays players trying to get where Guerrero, a 7-time all-star, has been.
As to when the Blue Jays will recall Guerrero to Toronto, the jury is still out, but it clearly won’t be long. “We haven’t set that number, but if you use Spring Training as a guide, we typically target 50-60 at-bats,” manager John Farrell said. “Then the next question is, well do you count extended spring or do you count just the at-bats in Dunedin? Bottom line is there is no end date to say it’s time to come or we’ve made the evaluation. We’re not at that point yet.”
Perhaps, one of the reasons that the Blue Jays are in no rush is the hitting of designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion. Encarnacion has 17 home runs this year and has been Toronto’s best hitter.
Fantasy Baseball Projection: Vladimir Guerrero
With Encarnacion swinging the bat like he has, Guerrero’s best chance of being in the starting lineup would be as the Designated Hitter if Encarnacion moves to first base more often. That is very possible given that the Blue Jays have used Adam Lind at first base the most this year (29 games), but he struggled, and Lind was sent back to Triple-A Las Vegas on May 17. Guerrero will be competing for playing time with David Cooper who has been playing first base most recently. Cooper hit .364 with 96 RBI in 120 games with Las Vegas last year so that’s no sure thing. The Jays will watch how Cooper does until Guerrero is ready. Therefore, we’ll take a wait and see approach on Guerrero at this point.