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Resting red-hot Guerrero on Victoria Day an organizational failure for Blue Jays

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24.05.2019

TSN Baseball Insider

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I don’t know if you heard, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr. wasn’t in the Toronto Blue Jays lineup on Victoria Day.

I bet he’ll be in the team’s lineup on that holiday Monday in May next year.

The firestorm has cooled down, but it won’t soon be forgotten. The ill-advised decision to sit the Jays’ young star for a key matinee matchup against the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre will certainly chase a number of fans away for a while. But no doubt about it, they’ll be back when Guerrero leads this team to the postseason in 2022.

Jays’ manager Charlie Montoyo made a mistake. Guerrero should absolutely have been in the lineup. He was coming off a road trip where his bat had erupted – hitting .333 with four homers and nine RBI. In fact, on Monday it was announced that he had earned American League Player of the Week honours. He is red-hot.

The team arrived home late Sunday night/early Monday morning and had to get right back into it with a day game against the Boston Red Sox. Montoyo had decided earlier to make Monday Guerrero’s scheduled day off and he followed through with his plan. The club is in the midst of a stretch of 16 games in 16 days and he wanted to give every player a break at some point during this run of games.

“We got a set deal that he needs to get a day off,” Montoyo said on Monday. “Everybody’s going to get a day off anyways. Sixteen straight days. So today was Vlad’s.”

Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins admitted that his first-year manager was not armed with all of the appropriate information when making his lineup decision. The GM explained on Tuesday that the lineup decisions all belong to Montoyo and that the front office provides him with all sorts of information to help make his decisions: player performance, matchup information, fatigue, workload, travel, night game, day game, etc.

Atkins also admitted that attendance expectations never factor into the information he gives the manager. He also said he regrets not explaining the importance of Victoria Day to Montoyo.

This was an organizational failure. Bad input leads to bad output. Montoyo didn’t understand what Victoria Day means to Canadians and clearly didn’t understand what Jays’ fans expected. Of course, players need days off. That has become more and more evident as clubs have studied the impact of fatigue and travel on players. But context matters. It is never as simple as “this is your day off “and that is his day off.”

In a 16-game span that includes six road games followed by seven home games and then three road games, Guerrero shouldn’t have his off game at home. Montoyo could have easily not played Guerrero in the Sunday game in San Francisco so he would have been available for Victoria Day on Monday.

Atkins made it clear he never includes information about potential fan numbers for home games when he arms Montoyo with info for his lineup decisions. Clearly, he should have. It actually matters at the major-league level.........

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