MLBPA backs Vladimir Guerrero Jr., slams Blue Jays in service time manipulation battle

I recently wrote about the growing, and rightful, backlash against teams manipulating the service time of future stars by keeping them in the minors longer than necessary. Among the two chief subjects right now is Blue Jays "farmhand" Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (the other being Eloy Jimenez of the White Sox). 

Recently, Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro made comments on MLB Network Radio about how the decision had nothing to do with business ...

[Pause for laughter]

Yes, Vlad Jr.'s "defense" was mentioned. That's the common refrain from front office types. One might recall the Cubs said Kris Bryant needed to work on his defense in Triple-A in 2015, but he then was summoned to the majors after just seven games. 

In the case of Guerrero (and Jimenez) in 2018, the MLBPA is speaking out. Via Sportsnet in Toronto

"The union's position on service-time manipulation is clear, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and other great young talents around baseball have earned the right to play on the field for a major-league team," a players association spokesman told Sportsnet on Thursday. "The decision to not to bring him up is a business decision, not a baseball decision. It's bad for the Blue Jays, it's bad for fans, it's bad for players and it's bad for the industry."

This is all 100 percent spot on. I especially love the last sentence. Just perfect. 

As for the possibility that Guerrero does need to work on defense, I'll accept that he probably does. You know what might be a good place to work on it? The entire month of September in the majors. The Blue Jays aren't in contention. Their games aren't meaningful. He can get in his work while starting to get acclimated to life in the majors while also seeing MLB pitching. 

I know, what a novel idea. I'm sure no one has ever thought about that before, especially not executives who have been on the job for decades. No, the real answer is keeping these players down in the minors. 

Guerrero, by the way, hit .336/.414/.564 in Triple-A with more walks than strikeouts. 

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories