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Report: The Cubs have had internal discussions about trading for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at the trade deadline

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Photo credit:© Darren Yamashita - USA Today
Ryley Delaney
1 month ago
It’s that time of the year.
Somehow, the 2024 Major League Baseball trade deadline is under two months away, and with a 32-33 record, it appears the Blue Jays are closer to selling than buying at this season’s deadline.
The team has been playing better as of late, including winning a series against the awful Oakland Athletics and are just two games out of a Wild Card position with three teams to jump. However, this isn’t a guarantee as there are seven teams within striking distance of the final Wild Card spot, including the Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, and Houston Astros.
In Bob Nightengale’s latest article, he noted that rival executives believe the Jays would be open to moving Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. if they can’t turn it around and an extension can’t be reached for either of them.
However, the following paragraph is more interesting, as Nightengale points out that “The Chicago Cubs have privately discussed the possibility of trying to acquire Guerrero Jr. at the deadline.” 
Let’s take a look at that last part, shall we.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s 2024

Well, first off, it’s not really “private” if it has been written, but I digress.
Guerrero Jr., 25, is having his best season since his breakout 2021 season. He’s slashing .294/.387/.429 with seven homers in 282 plate appearances, along with a 12.8 BB% and a 16.7 K% for a 139 wRC+.
The first baseman has already accumulated a 1.3 fWAR, matching his total from the 2023 season and 2.1 fWAR less than he had in 706 plate appearances in 2022. Everything is seemingly like how it was in 2021, his BB% of 12.8% is a career best, his .294 slash line is the second best in his career, as is his .387 on base percentage.
Well, that is except for one thing, he’s not hitting for power. The team as a whole has seemingly forgotten how to put the ball over the fence, but Guerrero Jr. has gone from 48 homers in 2021, to 32 homers, to 26 home runs, every season leading the team.
Before the Jays decide to trade Guerrero Jr., it may be wise to hire a hitting coach.

But if he is traded to the Cubs…

Trading Guerrero Jr. would all but signal a rebuild, as this current core of him and Bichette were supposed to be contenders. Yet, this team hasn’t won a postseason game since  2016 and both those players will be free agents after the 2025 season.
The good news is that the second rebuild  would be a speed run because of who they’re trading with, as the Chicago Cubs had the second-best farm system heading into this season according to MLB Pipeline.
There’s some significant talent in that organization, both in terms of high potential youngsters a few seasons away like Jefferson Rojas and Pedro Ramirez, as well as MLB ready prospects such as Pete Crow-Armstrong, Matt Shaw, Kevin Alcántara, James Triantos,  and Canadian Owen Caissie.
Sure, some of those players are bonafide Top 100 prospects, but we’re talking about a player who in his own right was the best prospect at one point and is still one of the best first basemen in the league. Not just that, but Guerrero Jr. has this season as well as the next of team control. 
It will cost the Cubs a pretty penny.

Why not just re-sign Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

In late-February, Guerrero Jr. reportedly said the following according to Héctor Gómez:
“I have no grudge against the Blue Jays, despite the tense negotiations I had with the team during the salary arbitration. It’s just business. I would like to be a Blue Jay for the rest of my career, but the team has not made me an offer”
It’s been made clear time and time again by Guerrero Jr. himself that he not only is willing to re-sign, but actively wants to. So why haven’t the Blue Jays gotten something done?
Well, it’s kind of hard to pin down what type of player Guerrero Jr. is and how much he should be getting. Guerrero Jr. didn’t hit like the generational talent in his first two seasons, but broke out in his third season where he looked like an MVP.
The 2022 season was good for Guerrero Jr., hitting 32 home runs, but it was a clear step down from his 2021 campaign. His 2023 season was even worse, looking like the player he was in 2019 and 2020, granted he may have been hurt. 
In 2024, he’s returned to the 2022 form, at least in terms of wRC+ as his 139 wRC+ is similar to the 133 wRC+ he posted in 2022. If he can start hitting home runs, this season will be very similar to his season he had in 2021.
Maybe with a new voice, Guerrero Jr. can turn into the player he was always meant to be – whether it be in the Blue Jays organization, the Cubs organization, or a different organization.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Ryley_L_D. 

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