The Toronto Blue Jays seem set to stash Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the minors for the opening weeks of the 2019 season, and the Major League Baseball Players Association is prepared to get involved if it can prove the young slugger's service time is being manipulated.
"It's something we are following and it's going to be an issue," an MLBPA source told Rob Longley of The Toronto Sun on Thursday. "Service-time manipulation has been a prominent theme that the players' association has emphasized in its talks with Major League Baseball."
Tony Clark, the executive director of the players' union, is scheduled to visit Blue Jays' spring training camp in Dunedin, Fla., at some point in March. Clark weighed in on service-time manipulation earlier this week, saying it's "getting in the way of our game."
Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told media Tuesday that he doesn't "see (Guerrero) as a major-league player," citing the 19-year-old's age as a factor.
Guerrero posted a remarkable .381/.437/.636 slash line with 20 home runs and three stolen bases across four developmental levels ranging from Rookie to Triple-A last year.