It’s not all doom and gloom when your best prospect hits the DL for an extended period. Not according to Toronto Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins anyway.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is expected to miss at least the next four weeks of action for the double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats due to a strained patellar tendon in his left knee, but Atkins told Prime Time Sports on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Monday that he sees it as an opportunity to help the young man get even better.
“Vlad has an incredible team around him to support him through this,” Atkins said. “He will come out on the other side of this injury stronger and in a much better place than he was, I have very little doubt about that.
“And I think he will have an appreciation — a heightened appreciation — for not taking anything for granted. Every player, there’s a learning curve in and around that process of what consistency means when you have to do something day in and day out for hopefully 20 years.”
Atkins expanded on the 19-year-old slugger’s “exceptional” discipline and drive for his age and that dealing with both ups and downs are the realities of being a professional athlete and major-league baseball player.
He wouldn’t concede that the Blue Jays were being overly cautious with Guerrero Jr., but rather, just following the advice of their medical team.
“We want to make sure that when he does come back from this it’s not something that is going to be reoccurring,” Atkins said. “With someone as young as he is we have an opportunity here to really stabilize in and around that knee and we’re going to take every opportunity to do that.”
The Blue Jays GM was also asked about the trade deadline at the end of July, and was quick to reveal that things do seem different this year compared to last.
“I think the market is definitely moving a little bit sooner this year,” Atkins said. “There are more teams willing to sell than typical. What we’re doing is understanding where all the opportunities are, and that’s on the buy, the sell, on the money swaps and whatever those opportunities may be just to get better and understand the entire landscape.”
In closing, Atkins said that there’s still a bit of time to evaluate where the team stands. You can listen to the conversation in its entirety at the link below.