Although he’s never gone through this process before, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. doesn’t seem too concerned about the possibility of his 2024 salary being decided by a three-person arbitration panel.
That’s likely because, whether the first baseman wins or loses, the Toronto Blue Jays slugger is likely to set the record for the highest salary ever awarded in arbitration.
Guerrero asked for US$19.9 million and was offered $18.05 million, meaning he is guaranteed to surpass the $14 million his former Toronto teammate Teoscar Hernandez received of Seattle after Hernandez lost his hearing last year.
“I feel very happy,” Guerrero said through a translator in an interview to promote his appearance on the cover of the 2024 edition of the video game MLB The Show.
“I feel even happier because he’s my good friend, and now I can give him a hard time,” Guerrero said.
Guerrero and Hernandez were Blue Jays teammates for four seasons, reaching the playoffs together in 2020 and 2022.
As for being the cover star of MLB The Show, he’s following in his father’s footsteps who graced the cover of “MLB 2006” (the last edition before the franchise was rebranded with Sony’s San Diego studio taking over). supports development).
“I’m so happy,” the younger Guerrero said, speaking in English. “My dad on the cover and now I see myself (on the cover). It’s amazing.
“I grew up playing video games. It’s a dream come true. Everyone wants to be the cover (athlete).”
Take a game console on some road trips
Shortstop Bo Bichette is a favorite teammate to play baseball with, he said. Outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr., now with the Arizona Diamondbacks, was also a Jays player.
Guerrero will sometimes bring a video game console with him on the road, depending on the trip.
Former Jays Marcus StromanAaron Sanchez, Russell Martin, Brett Lawrie and Jose Bautista previously served as cover athletes for the Canadian edition of the game.
The new version of the game is expected to launch on March 19 on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox X/S and Xbox One consoles.
Guerrero was previously the Canadian cover athlete for the 2020 edition of the now-discontinued “RBI Baseball” video game.
A triple All-Star and the reigning Home Run Derby championGuerrero said he made some minor mechanical adjustments to his swing this offseason after a second straight year of declining productivity.
In 2021, he set career highs with 48 homers and 111 RBIs, then followed that up with 32 homers and 97 RBIs in 2022. Guerrero had 26 homers and 94 RBIs last season.
“I improved my mechanics to have as few movements as possible,” Guerrero said. “With the naked eye, you might not even notice it. I can tell the difference because I can feel it.”
The Jays won their second straight wild card and third in four seasons, but did not win a game in any of those October appearances. Toronto scored just one point in a two-game sweep of Minnesota, extending a playoff drought that dates back to 2016, when the Blue Jays lost 4-1 to Cleveland in the 2016 championship series. the American League.
After missing out on Shohei Ohtani, the Blue Jays have been quiet so far this offseason, adding former Gold Glove winners outfielder Kevin Kiermaier and infielder/flyer Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
The Canadian Press, citing a source, reported Tuesday that the team had agreed to terms on a one-year deal with former Boston Red Sox designated hitter Justin Turner.
“I’m happy with the team,” Guerrero said. “I’m focusing more on my game and making sure I do my best.”