Blue Jays roster shuffle – the impact of Vladimir Guerrero Jr

The long awaited call up has been announced. What does this mean for the rest of the Toronto Blue Jays roster?

 

 

 

 

It’s finally happening!

 

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. MLB’s number one prospect has been called up to the Blue Jays and will make his MLB debut today. At last, Jays fans have something to be excited about.

 

No doubt when he makes his debut and for years to come, Vlad will provide lots of great content for anyone who writes about the Jays.

 

For now, with an off day before his official debut, let’s take a look at the impact his call up will have on other Blue Jays players.

 

The easy part is putting Guerrero on to the 40 man roster. On April 18 when the Jays activated Ryan Tepera from the 10 day IL, they DFA’d Javy Guerra, thereby removing him from both the 25 and 40 man roster.  (Guerra went unclaimed and has been assigned to AAA Buffalo). The organization knew the Vlad call up was near so they left the 40 man spot open for him.

 

In terms of the 25 man roster, iron man Freddy Galvis is dealing with a leg injury and his 349 consecutive game streak ended yesterday. Jays manager Charlie Montoyo commented that Galvis might need to go on the 10 day IL to recuperate. I’m going to guess that this will happen, freeing up the needed 25 man spot for Vlad.

 

Galvis has been very valuable to the Jays. Once he is healthy they will want to activate him. The other possibility is that he won’t need an IL stint at all. Sooner or later, someone other than Galvis will need to go.

 

The easy move would be to send Richard Urena back to AAA. He has options and the Jays have already sent him down once this season when they needed a roster spot. But I’m going out on a limb and saying he survives the cut this time around. 2019 was always supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Jays. It’s time to look at as many young players as they can and assess what they have for the future. Urena has played decently in 11 games for Toronto in 2019. His slash line is .313/.333/.406. His defence has looked better as well.  He showed impressive range and arm strength on a play in yesterday’s game. He has been good for 2 DRS so far this season. I say he has earned the right to stick around.

 

The other infield candidates on the bubble are Eric Sogard and Alen Hanson. Each player brings something different to the table. 33 year old Sogard can play anywhere in the infield. He has started his Blue Jays tenure with a bang, hitting .367/.406/.533. However the 9 year MLB veteran owns a career OPS of .629 so this offensive production isn’t expected to continue. 26 year old Hanson has played all four infield positions as well as corner outfield. He is off to a slow start to the season with the bat, hitting .167/.225/.167. He has a career OPS of .636, very similar to Sogard’s. Another place Hanson has an edge over Sogard is his speed. Statcast measured Hanson’s speed at 28.4 feet per second last season, whereas Sogard isn’t as fast at 26.6. Hanson could be used as a pinch runner in certain situations if needed. While I like what Sogard has done for the Jays in a small sample size, I think they would give the edge to Hanson here.

 

Then once roster construction is complete, the other question who plays where? The Jays want Guerrero jr to be an everyday player and they want to see if he can play well enough defensively as a 3B to be able to keep him there long term. Brandon Drury can play 2B and while his overall offensive numbers have been underwhelming (.179/.225/.321), he has been much better in his last 7 games (.259/.310/.556). If he can continue his improved hitting of late, I’m going to say he plays a majority of the time at 2B, and he can play 3B if Vlad is occasionally used at DH or gets the odd day off. That leaves Urena and Hanson as bench players to spell Guerrero/Galvis and Drury as needed.

 

The future of the Blue Jays franchise is about to begin.

 

 

 

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