Published June 12, 2012
TORONTO – Vladimir Guerrero didn't want to play in Triple-A anymore, and the Toronto Blue Jays weren't ready to make room for him on the major league roster.
So the Blue Jays granted Guerrero's request to be released from his minor league contract Tuesday, giving the nine-time All-Star a chance to seek employment with another team.
"He played (Monday) night and he decided that was enough for him," Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "He felt he was worthy of a call up and we weren't prepared to do that right now."
The 2004 American League MVP, Guerrero has a career average of .318 with 449 home runs and 1,496 RBIs. He played 145 games with Baltimore last season, hitting .290 with 13 homers.
The Blue Jays signed Guerrero on May 10 and sent him to extended spring training. He played four games with Class-A Dunedin before being promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas on June 1.
"We went into this with our eyes wide open, there were no guarantees he was going to come up here," Anthopoulos said. "No promises in that respect. We were going to continue to evaluate him."
The 37-year-old hit .303 in eight games with the 51s, including a 4-for-5 performance with two RBIs Monday.
Anthopoulos never saw Guerrero play in the Blue Jays system, but assistant GM Tony LaCava arrived in Las Vegas on Monday for a brief scouting trip. Anthopoulos said reports indicated Guerrero was "slowly starting to get better."
"More hard-hit balls but they didn't necessarily feel he was all the way there yet," he said.
The Blue Jays offered Guerrero the chance to continue day by day with Las Vegas, but also said they'd honor a handshake agreement allowing him to leave at any time.
Anthopoulos said he had "no doubt" that Guerrero, a former Montreal Expos star, still has the ability to play in the majors.
"He's a great player, a Hall of Famer," Anthopoulos said. "He was great teammate for us and he handled himself extremely well, everybody said he's a tremendous guy. I would never count him out. There's no question he's going to have opportunities."
Also Tuesday, the Blue Jays also optioned infielder Yan Gomes to Las Vegas. In 14 games over two stints with Toronto this season, Gomes is hitting .226 with three homers and eight RBIs.
Gomes was demoted to make room for left-handers Evan Crawford and Aaron Laffey, who were called up Monday. Right-hander Chad Beck was sent down after Monday's loss to Washington.