Inbox: Should Blue Jays call up Guerrero?

Beat reporter Gregor Chisholm answers questions from fans

May 7th, 2018

When are we going to see Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in Toronto? Why hasn't he been called up to replace ?
-- Rick C., Grimsby, Ontario

I passed over some of these questions in recent weeks because the topic was discussed at length during Spring Training, but Guerrero's performance at Double-A New Hampshire can't be ignored. He was named the Eastern League's Player of the Week for the second time on Monday and Toronto's top prospect is batting a ridiculous .398/.455/.624 in 24 games this season. It's not even a debate anymore -- Guerrero's bat is good enough to start for the Blue Jays right now.
So why not call him up? From Toronto's perspective, this discussion has to go a step beyond what Guerrero offers at the plate -- defense is a big part of it too. Even if the Blue Jays parted ways with Morales and called up Guerrero, they would only be able to offer most of his at-bats at designated hitter. There may come a time when Guerrero has to DH, but the priority is turning him into a position player. Calling him up now would cut short a key stage of his development.
:: Submit a question to the Blue Jays Inbox ::
Then there's the service-time issue. The quicker the Blue Jays promote Guerrero, the sooner he becomes eligible for free agency, and the Dominican native should undeniably be better at age 26 than he is at 19. That doesn't mean Toronto will, or should, block Guerrero's path, but it does mean there has to be a pretty compelling case to do something with him this season. If the Blue Jays remain in the race over the next couple of months and Guerrero continues on his current path, the sacrifice has to be made. Calling him up now and putting everything else on hold, though, doesn't make nearly as much sense.
Moving forward, do you expect the Blue Jays to add some depth to the rotation? 
-- Hank H., High Prairie, Alberta

What you see is what you get with this staff. remains in the backup role and Sam Gaviglio is trying to make his case as a depth option with a 2.35 ERA in four outings for Triple-A Buffalo. Toronto's rotation has been able to make all of its starts this season, and that's obviously crucial for any team, but it's particularly important here because it provides more time for some of the prospects to emerge.
Buffalo lefty has been a bit inconsistent this season, but he allowed just two hits over seven scoreless innings during his last start against Syracuse. The longer the Blue Jays' rotation stays healthy, the more time Borucki has to establish himself as the next in line. That being said, regardless of health, the Blue Jays' starting five needs to be a whole lot better. Toronto's rotation ranks second-to-last in the American League with a 5.40 ERA.
Assuming goes on the disabled list, do the Blue Jays make the regular shortstop?
-- Isaac A., Fredericton, New Brunswick

The move I expected the Blue Jays to make was to recall Richard Urena from Buffalo to take Diaz's spot on the roster, but it appears Toronto is going in a different direction. Urena was in the lineup for the Bisons on Monday night while was not, which seems to indicate that Travis will be the player who gets recalled after Diaz appeared to severely sprain his left ankle during Sunday's game against the Rays.
Travis would join Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Solarte as Toronto's middle infield. Solarte should be able to bounce around with occasional starts at shortstop when is on the mound, and spend time at third whenever Josh Donaldson needs a day off while also splitting time at second with Travis. One thing the Blue Jays should consider is giving Gurriel an extended look at shortstop. The 24-year-old didn't get to play a lot of short in the Minors this season because he shared the field with Bo Bichette, but he's played there four times for Toronto and this will be his chance to prove he can handle it.
Did stay in Dunedin, Fla., to rehab or come home with the team? How close is he to coming back?
-- @browninp

Grichuk should be out for at least a couple of more weeks. The Grade 1 sprain in the posterior cruciate ligament of his right knee initially called for a three-week recovery period, so a realistic target would be around the third week of May. But after a prolonged layoff -- and sporadic playing time before that -- expect the Blue Jays to make the most of his rehab assignment. Grichuk could use the at-bats to rediscover his stroke after a disappointing first month with the Blue Jays, so some patience here would be advisable.
What do you think the Blue Jays need to add to contend this season? They're starting to fade after a fast start.
-- Zack W., Sudbury, Ontario

Realistically, I still think this team needs another impact bat to have a shot at remaining in the race all season. That could come in the form of Guerrero late in the year or it could involve adding another piece prior to the non-waiver Trade Deadline. But a move of any significance is not going to happen for a while, so it will be up to this current group to stay in the hunt.
The other area the Blue Jays should address at some point is the lack of a lefty specialist in the bullpen. Toronto's core group of , , , and have performed admirably, but there's still no reliable option from the left side. eventually should become that guy, but he's surrendered four home runs in 20 2/3 big league innings, which remains a concern.