This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

LONGLEY: While Blue Jays look to bolster lineup, a stronger Guerrero would help the attack

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays. Photo by Mark Blinch /Getty Images

SAN DIEGO — John Schneider has been alongside Vlad Guerrero Jr. long enough to understand and appreciate the expectations that have tailed one of the most talented hitters in the game.

So what does the Blue Jays manager see for his prized first baseman as the team continues to build its credentials as serious contenders?

As the Canadian national soccer teams head to their respective FIFA World Cups, Derek Van Diest is on the scene to cover all the action. Expect expert insights and analysis in your inbox daily throughout the tournaments, and weekly on Thursdays for the rest of the season.

By clicking on the sign up button you consent to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. You may unsubscribe any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails. Postmedia Network Inc. | 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4 | 416-383-2300

“Vladdy getting back to being an absolute threat every time he gets into the box is really going to help us,” Schneider said on Monday during his press conference here at baseball’s Winter Meetings. “We forget he’s so good and so young, too.

“Him adjusting to the league was a big part of his year in 2022 and how he’s going to do that in 2023 is going to be a big part of who we are as an offence.”

While much of the talk here at baseball’s annual convention and swap meet has been the Jays’ need to bolster their rotation, the team’s front office would like to upgrade its attack, especially given the departure of heart-of-the-order guy, Teoscar Hernandez.

It also wouldn’t hurt having the Guerrero at-bats universally feared like they were two seasons ago;

As Schneider pointed out, for mortals the 2022 season was hardly a down one for Guerrero, who earned a Gold Glove for his play at first base, hit .274, drove in 97 runs and belted 32 homers.

But the Jays offence is never as prolific as it is when Guerrero is firing like he did in 2021, belting 48 homers and emerging as an AL MVP finalist.

“He’s driven. He’s confident. He’s one of the best hitters in the league,” Schneider said. “Vlad to build on what he did and get back to that form that’s a way to replace (the absence of Hernandez’s production.)”

General manager Ross Atkins believes that Guerrero is just on a normal career arc for a young, talented player.

“I think what he did (in 2022) was enough,” Atkins said. “If he continues to build upon that — a lot of different players ebb and flow throughout the course of their careers — we feel good where he is in his career and are very glad he’s a big part of who we are today.”

At the same time, the GM acknowledged the Jays are in the market for a productive bat.

“It’s definitely an areas that we are in,” Atkins said. “There are opportunities via free agency. I feel very good about our offence but know that we did subtract Teoscar and have to factor that in.”


Whether the improvement comes internally or externally, the Jays remain on the hunt, though Atkins suggested on Monday that nothing was imminent here.

Starting pitching still remains priority No. 1, and the GM said he’s exploring both trade and free agency as a means to improve.

“There are a lot of things we could do. We have an understanding of where there are some opportunities,” Atkins said. “This isn’t a deadline. There’s not a culmination on Thursday that we have to have acquired X, Y or Z, but we are certainly looking very hard to do that.”

Schneider, meanwhile, has enjoyed having input into the search for upgrades.

“Like any team that’s trying to win, it’s been active and I think there’s a variety of ways for us to get better,” Schneider said. “It’s nice to be involved when you’re talking about getting people around you that you’re going to be comfortable with and the roles they’re going to be in.

“It’s nice to (offer) your opinion on players and how they would fit into your roster and how you would try to deploy them to win.”


Schneider has been in steady contact with many of his players, and in particular has seen George Springer grinding through his recovery from elbow surgery after the season.

“He’s in Florida and I saw him last week,” Schneider said. “He’s feeling great. He’s doing a regular off-season workout program. Baseball activities he hasn’t started yet, but if you were to watch him in the gym, you wouldn’t think anything is bothering him.

“He’s on track. He’s feeling good. It feels like every year when the season’s over, we have to fix George a little bit.”


The Jays had definite and tangible interest in free agent starter — and reigning AL Cy Young award winner — Justin Verlander before he agreed to a two-year, $86.8 million US deal with the New York Mets.

Verlander had expressed interest in the Jays last off-season before returning to the Astros and was involved in further negotiations this winter. The Jays were believed to be considering a multi-year deal for the 39-year-old right hander.

Once the Mets lost Jacob deGrom to free agency and dove into the Verlander sweepstakes, the latter quickly escalated out of range for the Jays.


Jays starter Alek Manoah continues to be recognized for his outstanding first full MLB season after being named Monday to the All-MLB Team.

The honour puts Manoah in elite company, joining a first-time intraleague rotation that includes Verlander, Sandy Alcantara of the Marlins, Shohei Ohtani of the Angles and Framber Valdez of the Astros.

The All-MLB selection follows up Manoah finishing third in AL Cy Young Award voting after a season in which he had a 16-7 record with a 2.24 ERA.

  1. Former Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Fred McGriff, in 1990. McGriff was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Hans Deryk/The Canadian Press

    McGriff elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

  2. Toronto Blue Jays General Manager Ross Atkins speaks during an end of season media availability at the Roger Centre.

    Blue Jays ready to swap and shop