Toronto Blue Jays Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

GETTY Toronto Blue Jays Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Major League Baseball‘s July 30, 2024 trade deadline is still a few weeks upstream, but elongated slumps that keep slumping along with an impressive pile of injuries hindering those in contention have the deadline dialogue in motion.

Typically late June brings a cross-section of rumors, proposals, speculation, and insider input that help charge the debate madness. Adding to this year’s deadline intrigue is a June 25, 2024, ESPN report regarding Toronto Blue Jays’ slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Guerrero Jr. made it clear that “If a team picks me [and a trade is worked out]…I’ll be happy to help,” per ESPN/HectorGomez. Here is the eyebrow-raising kicker: This includes the New York Yankees!

Vlad Jr. isn’t too far removed from behavior and public statements which seemed to indicate a deep bitterness toward the New York Yankees’ franchise, but that door has apparently now been propped wide open. What’s behind the reversal?

 A Stark Reality in Toronto & ‘I Like to Kill the Yankees’

Being mired in last place an embarrassing 16 games back of said Yankees—while struggling 7.5 back of the final Wild Card—has to be depressing. Even worse, the Jays currently have a minuscule 0.9% chance of reaching the postseason per Baseball Reference.

So seemingly out of nowhere, the 25-year-old three-time All-Star (who finished second to Shohei Ohtani for the 2021 American League MVP) made it known he would be open to playing in the Bronx.

“Like I tell you, I’m a player and if a team picks me or if they do something, it’s because they need it, obviously, and I’ll be happy to help any team,” Guerrero told Virus Deportivo.

That’s an interesting juxtaposition to these November 5, 2024, comments.

“I like to play in New York. I like to kill the Yankees. I would never sign with the Yankees, not even (when I’m) dead,” Guerrero said (translation via @hgomez27). He added it is “a personal thing that goes back with my family.”

Guerrero Jr. is likely referencing a 2004 verbal contract agreement between his father Vladimir Guerrero Sr. and Yankees GM Brian Cashman that was ultimately squashed by late owner George Steinbrenner.

Why the Sudden Reversal For Vlad Jr?

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hits his 2nd of the season and rounds the bases to a loud chorus of boos from Yankees fans. #BlueJays

Among the comments that revealed his willingness to play with the Yankees should that opportunity arise, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. shined some light on his decision.

“Sometimes you say things, not that I am trying to take back what I said, [but] this is a business. I sat down and spoke with my dad and my family, and this is a business.” (per @hgomez27)

When asked about Guerrero Jr.’s previous statements regarding the Yankees, Vladimir Guerrero Sr. said this.

I told him not to say that because he doesn’t know if that is the team that is going to give him the money,” via @hgomez27.

All things considered, it doesn’t matter how he got to this mindset. Although obviously motivated by a future chock full of 55-gallon drums of Benjamins, doing what’s best for one’s immediate and long-term well-being is a smart and mature move by Vlad Jr.

Should It Happen, What Might the Cost Be for the Yankees?

If the Jays decide to bite on a deal for arguably the top name who’ll be available before the July 30 deadline (and under control through 2025), it’s going to take a top-rated prospect and a solid overall package.

Luckily, the Yanks’ farm system is thriving and they have the prospect cache to make this happen. Here are six names that could be part of a deal that brings the Vladimir Guerrero Jr. show to the Bronx.

  1. Spencer Jones, Outfielder   -Jones was the Yankees first-round pick in 2022 and the 6’6″ lefty is currently rated the team’s number two prospect in their organization. His 6 HR/33 RBI and .702 OPS at Double-A Somerset are a bit below expectations, but the potential upside is still there.
  2. Everson Pereira, Outfielder   -The 23-year-old centerfielder is a plus defender and has 10 HR/27 RBI with a .858 OPS at AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Pereira is the Yankees’ number-five prospect.
  3. Brock Selvidge, Left-Handed Pitcher   -In 13 starts and 68.1 innings pitched at Double-A Somerset, Selvidge has 70 strikeouts with a 3.95 ERA. The 21-year-old was a Yankees’ third-round pick in 2021 and is the number 10-rated prospect.
  4. Jose Rojas, Infielder/DH   –At 31, Rojas’ prospect days are far in the rearview. Still, Rojas is one of the many notable successes of the New York minor league system. After two failed attempts with the Los Angeles Angels, Rojas has found a new life at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Jose has 15 HR/47 RBI and a nice .957 OPS.
  5. TJ Rumfield, First Baseman   -Also at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (after promotion from Somerset) is 24-year-old 1B TJ Rumfield. Rumfield is batting .298 with 14 doubles, 7 HR/37 RBI, and a .820 OPS.
  6. Christopher Familia, Outfielder   -The stocky OF returned from injury on June 15, 2024, and is currently at High-A Hudson Valley. Familia has power as witnessed by his 22 HR/63 RBI and .995 OPS in 2023 between Single-A and High-A.

Love him or hate him, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is a nice fit on paper and his shot fired across the Yankees’ bow likely has their attention.

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