Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. is apparently major league enough to be MLB’s social media sensation

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Recently, we have been talking about the near-certain upcoming manipulation of No. 1 overall prospect Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.’s service time by the Blue Jays. That his service time will likely be manipulated comes as no surprise, as the same was done to Kris Bryant a few years ago when he was an über-prospect. The Braves didn’t have Ronald Acuña Jr. open the season on the major league roster last year so they could gain an extra year of service time as well. The Phillies did the same with Maikel Franco. Bryant and Franco, in fact, filed grievances that ultimately did not go anywhere.

Service time manipulation is one piece of the puzzle in the current labor climate in Major League Baseball. We also seen a stagnant free agent market, which has encouraged younger players to agree to team-friendly contract extensions well before they reach eligibility for free agency. Ultimately, these are issues that will need to be addressed when the current collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2021 season.

In the meantime, front offices will continue to deflect as they gain that precious extra year of contractual control. Last week, Jays GM Ross Atkins said of Guerrero, “I just don’t see him as a major league player.” In the minors last season, Guerrero obliterated pitching to the tune of an aggregate .381/.437/.636 triple-slash line with 20 home runs and 78 RBI in 408 plate appearances. He had a .323/.425/.485 line in 2017. Atkins cited defense and a “physical aspect” — presumably referring to Guerrero’s weight — to defend having him start the season at Triple-A rather than on the Opening Day roster of a rebuilding team.

Despite this, Major League Baseball’s own social media accounts have found Guerrero major league enough to post about him.

Guerrero’s double above was from Sunday afternoon’s Grapefruit League game, which went viral because he one-armed it.

MLB even promoted Guerrero last year, quoting Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, who said, “I think he’s going to be just as special as [Vladimir Guerrero, Sr.]” Vlad Sr., who spent 16 seasons in the majors, is a Hall of Famer, too.

I propose a rule: If Guerrero is good enough for MLB to drum up excitement around him and profit off of his image, then he’s good enough to not be disingenuously stuffed in the minors for two weeks (or more) to start the season.

New bill to build Athletics stadium on Las Vegas Strip caps Nevada’s cost at $380 million

D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

CARSON CITY, Nev. — A bill introduced in the Nevada Legislature would give the Oakland Athletics up to $380 million for a potential 30,000 seat, $1.5 billion retractable roof stadium on the Las Vegas Strip.

The bulk of the public funding would come from $180 million in transferable tax credits from the state and $120 million in county bonds, which can vary based on interest rate returns. Clark County also would contribute $25 million in credit toward infrastructure costs.

The A’s have been looking for a home to replace Oakland Coliseum, where the team has played since arriving from Kansas City for the 1968 season. The team had sought to build a stadium in Fremont, San Jose and finally the Oakland waterfront, all ideas that never materialized.

The plan in the Nevada Legislature won’t directly raise taxes. It can move forward with a simply majority vote in the Senate and Assembly. Lawmakers have a little more than a week to consider the proposal before they adjourn June 5, though it could be voted on if a special session is called.

The Athletics have agreed to use land on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, where the Tropicana Las Vegas casino resort sits. Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao has said he is disappointed the team didn’t negotiate with Oakland as a “true partner.”

Las Vegas would be the fourth home for a franchise that started as the Philadelphia Athletics from 1901-54. It would become the smallest TV market in Major League Baseball and the smallest market to be home to three major professional sports franchises.

The team and Las Vegas are hoping to draw from the nearly 40 million tourists who visit the city annually to help fill the stadium. The 30,000-seat capacity would make it the smallest MLB stadium.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said a vote on the Oakland Athletics’ prospective move to Las Vegas could take place when owners meet June 13-15 in New York.

The plan faces an uncertain path in the Nevada Legislature. Democratic leaders said financing bills, including for the A’s, may not go through if Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo vetoes the five budget bills, which he has threatened to do as many of his priorities have stalled or faded in the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

Under the bill, the Clark County Board of Commissioners would create a homelessness prevention and assistance fund along the stadium’s area in coordination with MLB and the Nevada Resort Association. There, they would manage funds for services, including emergency rental and utility assistance, job training, rehabilitation and counseling services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

The lease agreement with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority would be up for renewal after 30 years.

Nevada’s legislative leadership is reviewing the proposal, Democratic state Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager said in a statement.

“No commitment will be made until we have both evaluated the official proposal and received input from interested parties, including impacted community members,” Yeager said.