July 21, 2024

The July 30 trade deadline in Major League Baseball is less than a month away, and contending teams are already slimming down their list of elite players to target. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays is one of the hottest sluggers expected to be available this deadline, and while he’s already been linked to the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, and San Francisco Giants, MLB beat writer Michael Schwab reported on June 27 that the Houston Astros are also likely to make an offer.

“The Astros have identified Vladimir Guerrero Jr. as one of their top targets for a trade, per sources,” Schwab told X. “It will take a lot to land a player like him, who will be a free agent in 2026, but he would bring a big bat and solve the first base problem.”

Guerrero Jr. earned a record $19.9 million in salary arbitration for the 2024 season, approximately $6 million more than the previous best awarded during a hearing (Teoscar Hernandez’s $14 million contract in 2023). As of June 27, the three-time All-Star is hitting.288/.368/.435 with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs in 306 plate appearances.

Guerrero Jr. Would Solve the Astros’ ‘First Base Problem’

The Astros signed former Chicago White Sox first baseman José Abreu before the 2023 season, but the team quickly realized there was a problem. Abreu batted.237 with an OPS of.679 in the first season of his three-year, $58 million contract, and his defense was not much better. Before being dismissed by the Astros on June 14, he had a.124 batting average in 113 at-bats this season.

After saying goodbye to Abreu, the Astros looked to Jon Singleton to step up, but given that Singleton made the team this season for two reasons: he’s left-handed and out of options, making him the daily first baseman was hardly an inspiring prospect.

As of June 27, Singleton is cutting.224/.321/.329, 5 home runs, 16 RBIs. The 32-year-old is just 8-for-35 at the plate in June, and while his numbers are better than Abreu’s, it’s evident that the Astros’ first-base problem has yet to be fixed, especially if they want to make the playoffs.

Enter Guerrero Jr.

Guerrero Jr., who has won a Gold Glove (2022), a Silver Slugger (2021), and an AL Hank Aaron Award (2021), is well-known for his ability to influence games. According to Jim Bowden of The Athletic, selling the 25-year-old this season would also benefit the Blue Jays.

“Guerrero will be a free agent after the 2025 season and the Blue Jays have yet to sign him to a long-term deal,” Bowden wrote on Friday, May 6. “They’d get a much better return in a trade now than they would in the offseason or in the lead-up to next year’s trade deadline.”

 

The season that was: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. - Bluebird Banter

Astros GM Confirmed Team Will Be Buyers at Trade Deadline

On June 3, Astros general manager Dana Brown announced that, despite their dismal start to the season, the team will be buyers at the trade deadline.

“I don’t see any scenario where we’re sellers,” Brown told Chandler Rome of The Athletic. “I’ve seen teams blow five- to seven-game leads in September. In Atlanta, when we won the World Series, we didn’t reach.500 until game 100. I don’t see us being sellers at all. We’re going to grind it out. I believe we will return to.500 before people realize it, and we will be back in the race.

The Astros, who are currently on a six-game winning run, returned to.500 (40-40) with a win against the Colorado Rockies on June 26. If the team is aggressive at the trade deadline to obtain the missing pieces of their roster, a turnaround in the second half of the season is very much possible.

Guerrero Jr. is a player who would undoubtedly be a positive addition.

“Guerrero is still only 25 years old and is just entering his prime years,” stated Bowden on May 6. “Could you see him batting alongside Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker for the next two seasons (at least)?… Guerrero would solve first base for the Astros and significantly expand their lineup.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *