It has long seemed obvious that the Blue Jays would prefer to hold top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at Triple-A to open the 2019 season. After all, the team decided not to call him up late last season and can push back his potential free agency by one season if they keep him down for at least a brief stretch to begin the new campaign. GM Ross Atkins declined yesterday to provide any kind of hint as to the anticipated timing, as Keegan Matheson of the Score tweets, though he did so in a manner that seemingly suggests the club is indeed preparing to hold off on a call-up. “There’s no firm timeline on when [Guerrero] arrives or when he is playing in Toronto for the first time,” said Atkins, “but we want to make sure he’s the best possible third baseman and the best possible hitter he can be.”
Let’s take a look at some other notes from the American League …
- The Red Sox and shortstop Xander Bogaerts reportedly failed to gain traction in extension talks earlier this winter. Perhaps it’s still possible, though, that the pending free agent could line up with the organization on a new deal. As John Tomase of WEEI.com writes, Bogaerts acknowledged that the slow-developing free agent market provides cause for him to consider extension scenarios — “you obviously have to think about that,” he said — though he also did not exactly hint that he’s particularly inclined to forego the risks and upside of the open market. The 26-year-old called this winter’s market developments “weird.” As for the possibility of a future in Boston, he ultimately would say only that he likes playing with the team and that “we’ll see what happens.”
- While the Twins have looked into extensions with multiple young players, and recently locked up both Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco, all is quiet on that front at this point, per LaVelle E. Neal III off the Star Tribune (via Twitter). Players such as outfielder Eddie Rosario and righty Jose Berrios would seem to represent highly appealing targets, though both also have added leverage due to their strong 2018 seasons.
- The Tigers, meanwhile, do not appear to have anything in the works with outfielder Nicholas Castellanos, who seems to be more of a mid-season trade candidate than extension candidate. Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press writes that skipper Ron Gardenhire would prefer Castellanos stick around. He just might get his wish, at least for the first half of the season, as it still seems there’s insufficient market interest in the defensively challenged slugger to pique the Detroit organization’s interest.