Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has already proven many times over that he is capable of hitting major-league pitching, and yet he will be doomed to spend the first month or so of the season toiling away in the minor leagues while the Blue Jays game his arbitration eligibility. When he eventually does emerge to dazzle us with his innate dinger-socking abilities, we may be looking at a slightly slimmer version.
The Blue Jays apparently want Big Little Vlad to focus on his conditioning during spring training, with the goal being to cut some weight from his large frame (hilariously, the Blue Jays raised his official weight from 200 pounds to 250 overnight). Guerrero indicated to ESPN that he is on board with this plan, at least in part:
“That weight is normal for me; that’s what I weighed last year. But this spring training, getting in better shape is part of my job too,” Guerrero said in a one-on-one interview with ESPN. “Part of the work I am focused on this spring training is to strengthen my body and be as healthy as possible. I am not killing myself to lose weight but it is my job to be in the best shape possible for when the season starts.”
To heck with this, I say! One of the distinct pleasures of following baseball is the opportunity to see professional ballplayers who look like they spend four nights a week eating cheap hot dogs at the bowling alley nevertheless excelling at the sport. Basketball and football are where I go to see sculpted athletes jump over and through each other; baseball is for CC Sabathia whipping his heft into a 95 mph fastball.
It’s obviously important for athletes to keep themselves in good physical condition, but I would like to propose a new rule: a big thick ballplayer should not be told to lose any weight until he proves himself incapable of staying healthy and productive while being big and thick. At this point, how do we know that the excess meat on Guerrero’s bones isn’t the key ingredient to those grand displays of power?
Why mess with perfection?