What was rumoured to be in the works as early as January of this year has finally come to fruition. The Blue Jays have come to an agreement with international free agent Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for an expected figure of $3.9 million. Of course, today signals the first day that IFA's are allowed to sign with Major League teams meaning that Guerrero wasted little time making it official. Earlier this year, Kiley McDaniel reported that he expected the Jays and the 16-year-old to agree at a $3.2 million price point but that obviously increased a wee bit. The youngster is the son of MLB legend Vladimir Guerrero who was one of the most exciting players to ever grace a baseball field.
Scouts are quite split on the teen, with the bearish evaluators thinking the righty has very little value beyond the batter's box where he may or may not provide enough to justify the money. The more bullish group think he's going to be a stud at the plate and will develop an average arm that could play in the corner outfield. McDaniel from FanGraphs summed up the 16-year-old quite nicely:
Guerrero’s draw is big bat speed, big power and physical projection, along with the bat control and feel to hit to tap into those skills in games.
Guerrero was ranked anywhere from first to fifth in the IFA rankings entering July 2nd and will be exciting to follow as he makes his way through the minor league system. According to most folks, the future outfielder will progress quite fast through the lower levels of the Blue Jays farm system and could end up in the major leagues before his 22nd birthday. As the deal is well above what the team had to spend on international free agents without penalties (unless they acquired a lot of pool money from the Dodgers), Toronto will not be allowed to sign any IFA's next season for more than $300,000 as well as facing a 100% tax on the overage.
There was a slight delay this morning with the signing as apparently the Jays were making a trade for more pool money to reduce the overage penalties they'd face. If they exceed their pool by less than 15%, then they would be locked out of $300,000+ players for only one season instead of two.
Blue Jays trade Chase Dejong and Tim Locastro to Dodgers for more international pool money.— keithlaw (@keithlaw) July 2, 2015
De Jong was the #29 ranked prospect in BBB's top 40 this year and was pitching solidly in Lansing (3.13 ERA) repeating the low-A level as a 21-year-old. Locastro on the other hand was featured in my "Just Missed" portion of the rankings before the season and was continuing his consistent play this year in Lansing with some increased pop (five home runs). Both players were legitimate minor leaguers and are a fairly steep price to pay for some extra pool room.
Can you tell they're related? pic.twitter.com/Oce2OqBrYb— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) July 2, 2015
See you in a few years Vlad Jr. and so long Chase and Timothy...