Toronto Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. might be the most popular athlete in Toronto at the moment, and it sounds like the love is mutual.
In an interview with the Toronto Star's Gregor Chisholm on Friday, Guerrero Jr. admitted that he is comfortable with the idea of calling Toronto home for the rest of his very promising career.
“Since I got to the big leagues, I’ve always felt that way,” the 23-year-old told Chisholm. “Especially now when you start feeling the love from the fans and the city. I’ve always said that I would love to play here my entire career. I’m open for any conversation. We’ll see what happens.”
In addition to the success on the field and a young, promising team around him, one of Guerrero Jr.'s favourite things about the city is the appreciation he feels from the Blue Jays' faithful.
“It’s the respect that the fans and people have for you,” he said. “I can walk down the street, they look at me, they know it’s me, they admire me. But sometimes for some reason you cannot take a picture or sign an autograph and they respect that. Some other cities, they kind of get upset. But here, I love that from the fans. I love the people here.”
Since Guerrero Jr. broke into the majors in 2019, the league has seen a plethora of young stars get signed to huge, long-term deals, like Fernando Tatis Jr. (14 years, $340 million), Julio Rodriguez (12 years, $209 million) and Wander Franco (11 years, $182 million).
But the Montreal native told Chisholm that he pays little attention to other team's affairs, preferring to focus on his game and his own squad.
“To be honest with you I’m not thinking about that, what happens in other organizations,” he said. “I come here to work very hard every day and try to do my job. But of course, once you sign a long-term contract you feel secure, you feel great, and that’s what you want.”
These comments come only a day after Guerrero Jr. made it clear to MLB insider Hector Gomez that he feels "really happy" playing in Toronto and is open to signing a long-term contract with the Jays.
Guerrero Jr. is hitting .277/.341/.482 with 28 home runs and 84 RBIs in 2022, falling short of the lofty standards that he set last season, when he finished as the runner-up in American League MVP voting behind Los Angeles Angels pitcher/slugger Shohei Ohtani.
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