When the Blue Jays signed Vladimir Guerrero to a minor-league contract earlier this month general manager Alex Anthopoulos tried to keep expectations low by saying the former MVP was no sure thing to be part of their big-league plans.
Since then Guerrero has been working out at the team’s minor-league complex in Florida and just a couple weeks later Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com writes that the Blue Jays calling him up now “seems like a mere formality after a string of glowing reports.”
It seems difficult to believe after watching Guerrero limp through the past several seasons, but according to Chisholm he’s “moving free and easy” and “it’s just a matter of getting his timing down at the plate before Guerrero is ready for the next step.”
Last season Guerrero hit .290, but it came with minimal power and non-existent plate discipline, leading to a career-worst .733 OPS that’s below average for a designated hitter. And at age 37 further decline is very possible, which is why Anthopoulos was hesitant to play up the signing as a major addition in the first place.
By waiving Adam Lind the Blue Jays potentially cleared a path for Guerrero, but first he’ll have to show some upside on a minor-league rehab assignment that could see him play at several levels.
Last night we wrote about the rumored deal between the Cardinals and the Athletics for Stephen Piscotty. The deal is now official, with Piscotty going to Oakland for minor leaguers Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock.
Something else emerged about the deal today: a big reason why St. Louis traded Piscotty to Oakland as opposed to another team was so that he could be near his mother, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease last May. Piscotty and his family are from Pleasanton, California, about 35 miles from Oakland.
Here’s Cardinals GM John Mozeliak:
This was certainly a baseball trade — Piscotty became expendable for the Cardinals after they acquired Marcell Ozuna yesterday — but it was one which could’ve been made with any team with a couple of red or white chip prospects. That Mozeliak considered Piscotty’s personal situation in making the deal with the A’s is a credit to him and his staff.
The 26-year-old Piscotty hit .235 with nine homers and 39 RBIs in 107 games last season. He has hit .268 with 38 homers and 163 RBIs in 2+ major league seasons. He agreed to a six-year, $33.5 million contract extension last spring.
As for the prospects in return: Munoz, 22, hit .300 with 13 homers and 68 RBIs this year for Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville. Schrock, 23, batted .321 with seven homers and 46 RBIs for Midland, and was a Texas League All-Star.