According to the Associated Press, Toronto Blue Jays sensation Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is set to pocket an impressive $19.9 million for the 2024 season following his successful arbitration case on Wednesday.
Despite the Blue Jays initially offering $18.05 million in arbitration, a three-person panel consisting of Scott Buchheit, Walt De Treux, and Jeanne Charles ruled in favor of Guerrero’s higher request. This decision marks the highest arbitration salary ever awarded in Major League Baseball history.
At just 24 years old, Guerrero has rapidly ascended as one of baseball’s most formidable power hitters. In the 2023 season, he boasted a .264 batting average along with 26 home runs, 94 runs batted in, 76 runs scored, and an impressive .788 OPS.
While these statistics are commendable, they slightly paled in comparison to his remarkable performances in previous years, where he showcased his prowess with 48 home runs and an astounding 1.002 OPS in 2021, followed by 32 home runs and a .818 OPS in 2022.
With three All-Star selections under his belt and a second-place finish in the AL MVP race in 2021, Guerrero’s star status in the league is undeniable.
His defensive skills were recognized with a Gold Glove award in 2022, and he clinched the title of Home Run Derby champion. Notably, he’s also been chosen as the cover athlete for MLB The Show 24.
Undoubtedly, Guerrero’s trajectory in his five-year career positions him as a prime candidate to set a new arbitration benchmark.
His previous arbitration agreements have been lucrative, including a $7.9 million deal in 2022 and a $14.5 million agreement before the last season. However, he remains eligible for arbitration once more before potentially becoming an unrestricted free agent in advance of the 2026 season.
Considering Guerrero’s remarkable talent and potential, it’s conceivable that the Blue Jays might explore offering him a contract extension in the near future.
Nevertheless, Guerrero may opt to test the waters of free agency, leveraging his status as a premier slugger in his prime to secure a substantial deal, especially if he returns to his exceptional 2021 form.
Guerrero himself has hinted at improvements to his swing mechanics, suggesting the possibility of an even more impressive season ahead. “I improved my mechanics to have as little movement as possible,” he explained. “To the naked eye, you might not even notice. I can tell the difference because I can feel it.”
For the Blue Jays, Guerrero’s continued success at the plate will be crucial as they aim to compete against opposing pitchers in the upcoming season.