Baseball-Toronto’s Guerrero homers on bobblehead night but trade talk continues

By Thomson Reuters Jun 3, 2024 | 10:48 PM

By Steve Keating

TORONTO (Reuters) – It was Vladimir Guerrero Jr. bobblehead night at the Rogers Centre on Monday as the Toronto Blue Jays paid tribute to one of the city’s most popular sportsman, handing out the jiggly-headed collectible.

Guerrero added to the occasion by slamming a fourth-inning solo home run but the Blue Jays fell 7-2 to the Baltimore Orioles as trade rumors continue to swirl around the Toronto first baseman.

The son of Baseball Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero Sr., ‘Vladdy’ brought a slugger’s swagger and mystique to the Jays that for a period of time made him one of Canada’s most intriguing sporting figures.

But with the July 30 trade deadline approaching and the Blue Jays anchored to the bottom of the American League East, talk persists that Toronto is ready to entertain offers for Guerrero and shortstop Bo Bichette, who can both enter the free agent market after the 2025 campaign.

The chatter has been loud enough that Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins addressed the rumors at the weekend, saying they “just doesn’t make any sense for us” and that he wanted the players to stay.

“We believe in them, we believe in their futures and hope there’s a way they can play here for a long time,” Atkins told MLB Network.

Guerrero and Bichette are the cornerstones of a planned championship team that has been under construction since both made their Toronto Major League debuts in 2019.

A $400 million renovation of the Rogers Centre was completed this year but work on a World Series worthy roster continues.

The two young guns had the look of a sturdy foundation on which to build but Toronto has never lived up to carefully managed expectations.

Guerrero has not been able to match his 2021 breakout season when he led the major leagues in home runs (48) and runs scored (123).

He was named to the AL All-Star and voted the game’s most valuable player.

Last year Guerrero Jr. won the All-Star Home Run Derby to join Vladimir Sr., who took the honor in 2007 – the two becoming the first father-son to accomplish the feat.

But this season Guerrero and Bichette have suffered power failures, combining for just 10 home runs.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Peter Rutherford)