Famous dads no big deal for Blue Jays quartet

Vlad Jr., Smith Jr., Bichette, Biggio out to carve their own MLB path

February 19th, 2019

DUNEDIN, Fla -- It's not rare to see former Major League sons in Major League uniforms, but is it unusual to find four in one clubhouse?

Toronto is the outlier, thanks to Vladimir Guerrero Jr., , Bo Bichette and .

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Spring Training:Schedule | Info | Tickets | Gear

While it may be a big deal for the media and fans to see so many under one roof, it's not a big topic of conversation among this Fab Four.

"Really, honestly, not too much," Bichette said. "Probably when we first met each other we might have said it was interesting. Since then, not really much at all."

"We haven't really talked about it," Smith said. "We [do] ask about each other's dads and stuff and [compare] similarities to us. We're all different in different ways, but we all have something our dads had."

These young Blue Jays all share Major League genes, but only Smith has Major League experience among the four, yet most see differences with their famous dads. Bichette is an infielder while his father Dante was a power hitting outfielder, and Smith said his dad was faster but he possesses more power.

"He tells me all the time, 'You're way better than me at my age,'" said the younger Smith.

Guerrero plays third, a different position than his Hall of Fame outfielder father. Biggio is the exception, as he plays second for the Blue Jays, the same as dad Craig did during his Hall of Fame career with the Astros.

Pillar eager to fill leadership void

The one thing they all have in common is growing up in Major League clubhouses, which build memories for all four. Bo Bichette, named after Bo Jackson, remembers his dad as a hitting coach with the Rockies, where he looked up to and fondly remembers taking infield with .

Smith says his dad told him Sammy Sosa used to love giving him bubble gum. While Smith doesn't remember that, he recalls playing with Chipper Jones and often having Josh Hamilton let him wear his oversized shoes.

The memories are great from their famous dads, but what sticks with these Blue Jays are the lessons their fathers passed on, which help them in their budding baseball careers today.

"'Continue to do what you do,'" Bichette said his dad told him. "'Don't let anything around you affect how you prepare. Find a way to get your work in.'"

Maile knows Montoyo

While most Blue Jays players are getting used to new manager Charlie Montoyo, they could use one veteran as a great frame of reference.

Catcher has known Montoyo for years, as we was drafted by the Rays and saw firsthand his new Blue Jays manager lead at both the Major and Minor League levels. When Maile was drafted by Tampa Bay back in 2012, Montoyo's reputation preceded him.

"You kind of always knew the Triple-A manager was someone everyone revered and respected," Maile said. "He's just a tremendous guy, he's super consistent, very relaxed, but kind of has that fire, and it's awesome, it's refreshing. I think that's the kind of role that our team is in is going to require that, and I think he's the guy to bring it."

Maile, along with his Blue Jays teammates, weren't sure who would take over when John Gibbons and the club parted ways after last season, but the Toronto catcher knew it was only a matter of time for Montoyo.

"I wasn't terribly surprised to be honest with you," said Maile. "I knew the way the game is heading. I think that they're looking for guys who can speak -- I call it speak multiple languages -- kind of have an understanding of the front office perspective and also be able to relay it to the team. The great thing about Charlie is he would have been hired 40 years ago or he would have been hired in today's game the way it is now.

"It kind of speaks to the guy he is. His consistency and his messages are very digestible. It's refreshing."

As for Montoyo, it's early, but after his first few days with his new team, he already has a quality first impression.

"It's been a pleasant surprise how many good kids we have here, so that's less headaches for a manager, and I don't take that for granted one minute," said Montoyo.