Finally, it could be the time we’ve all been waiting for. Toronto now has the perfect chance to call up Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. to the majors, at least for a temporary basis. At this point, Vlad Jr. has more than proven himself in Double A ball, hitting .431 with 10 home runs for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats this season.
So while at the very least he should at least be called up to Triple A Buffalo to get reps there, the Blue Jays now have an opening to test out his skills in the show. Josh Donaldson left Monday’s game against the Red Sox with an injury, leaving the starting third base spot open at least for a few games based on how it looked.
Donaldson tweaked something while running from first-to-third on a double, which was confirmed after he left as left calf tightness. While hopefully that’s not as stymying an injury as the dead arm Donaldson started the season with, it’s not something he should be rushed back from especially considering he already missed nearly 20 games already this year.
His departure meant that Gio Urshela took over at third for the last few innings. Urshela is hitting .160 on the year with a slugging percentage of .320 and while his defense at the hot corner is probably more reliable than Vlad’s as things stand, is that tradeoff really worth it? Especially when you factor in what giving Vlad big league exposure and letting the fans see him play in Toronto finally would mean longterm?
The pros of one side clearly outweigh the cons on the other side but the Jays are seemingly remaining stubborn.
Meanwhile, they’re moving Russell Martin around the starting lineup like that’s the key to unlocking a 10-game win streak. He started at shortstop over the weekend and in left field (at Fenway!) on Monday. It was his first career start at left field, he’s 35 years old, and the Jays said it was so another right-handed bat would be in the lineup against David Price. Sure, fine, whatever. Mess around if you think it’s going to make a measurable difference.
Yet they’re willing to experiment there but not with Vlad Jr.? The Jays explaining Vlad’s lack of a call up by pointing to his defense or the need to have him playing consistently looks more and more flimsy every day. With Donaldson injured, at least give him the shot.
If they don’t do it now, which looks likely to be the case, they better have a better explanation. Because the words “service time manipulation” are going to be flashing in every reporter’s mind until Vlad finally sees a spot in the Jays’ lineup. They have a window to at least test things out, so they should do it.
If Toronto finally gives everyone what they want, we can thank Donaldson’s tricky calf for rolling out the red carpet for Vlad. We can crowdfund a nice gift basket or something.