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Vlad Guerrero Jr. ‘pushing himself hard’ during offseason workouts

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Blue Jays CEO Mark Shapiro told Toronto’s 590 The Fan this morning that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. “couldn’t be pushing himself harder” in offseason workouts. He’s apparently trying to trim down and strengthen that large-ish frame of his.

Touted as the top prospect in baseball, Guerrero hit .272/.339/.433 with 15 home runs and 69 RBI over his first 123 major league games and played a less-than-great third base. He’s obviously super talented and one strongly suspects that, even if he did not do anything to get in better shape, he’ll be an excellent hitter in the big leagues for a long time. His track record in the minors speaks for itself.

Still, baseball history is loaded with would-be studs who petered out early or never panned out entirely due to poor conditioning or what have you. Sounds like Vlad is determined not to have that happen to him, and that’s a good thing.

Let us not, though, put this into Best Shape of His Life Land, however. I feel like it’s just way too premature to do that. Mostly because the guy is friggin’ 20 years old and thinking of someone — anyone — having to work to get into The Best Shape of His Life at 20 is depressing on multiple levels. Not least of which is that it serves as a reminder that I spent my 20s and 30s in, probably, the worst shape of my life before tightening stuff up in my late 30s. Just saying that working a stress-filled job that encourages a lot of drinking and fatty meals while pulling 60+ hour work weeks — all while having babies at home that encourages no exercise and even more convenience eating — is not a recipe for great health.

Anyway: don’t waste a BSOHL so young, Vlad! Get as fit as you can and win some MVP Awards, then get a bit bloaty in your 30s like everyone else, THEN do a BSHOL thing and give yourself that final push of mid-late 30s excellence that puts you into the Hall of Fame.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).