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Vladimir Guerrero Jr. changes tune on potential Yankees trade

One of the Yankees’ fiercest rivals may be open to playing in New York.

Toronto first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., speaking to Spanish outlet Virus Deportivo before the Blue Jays-Red Sox game in Boston on Monday, said he wouldn’t play in the Bronx “even if I had to die” in 2022, but expressed openness to donning pinstripes if traded to the Yankees.

“I’m a hard worker. I’m a professional,” Guerrero said when asked if he would play for the Yankees if traded to them. “I go out on the field to play.”

After just one year, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. seems pretty open to playing for the Yankees. Getty Images

The star also walked back his infamous comments about not wanting to play for the famous franchise.

“I’ve talked to my dad. I’ve talked to my family. Sometimes I say things that I’m not,” Guerrero said. “I didn’t hold back on what I said about the Yankees. But I will say that they understand me.”

“I [Yankees]When they need me or when they do something, it’s because they obviously need me. I’m happy to help any team.”

Last April, Guerrero reiterated his stance that he never wanted to play in New York or for the Yankees, citing his father’s Hall of Fame career.

Guerrero has given Yankees fans plenty of ammunition to portray him as a villain.

The slugger silenced the Yankee Stadium crowd on April 6 with a home run in the seventh inning with Toronto trailing 9-2.

In September 2022, Guerrero will play at Rogers Centre. “my house” After hitting a walk-off home run to beat the Yankees.

Guerrero has a deep history with the Yankees and their fans. Getty Images

The next day, the Yankees clinched the American League East title with a 5-2 victory at Toronto.

Guerrero bounced back in the 2024 season, finishing with a weighted run creation plus (wRC+) of 131 (league average was 100), 10 home runs, 36 RBIs, a .368 on-base percentage and a 1.3 Wins Instead (WAR), tied for fifth on the team.

But the Blue Jays have disappointed many after suffering their seventh straight loss on Monday and are now 35-43, last in the division and 7.5 games out of the final wild-card spot in the AL.

Speculation is rife about which players Toronto might deal at the July 30 trade deadline, and Guerrero’s name continues to come up among teams searching for a hitter.

Guerrero going to the Yankees once seemed sacrilegious, but it’s becoming more likely. AP

Given Anthony Rizzo’s recent broken arm and the Yankees are 23rd in Fangraphs’ first baseman WAR rankings, Guerrero seems like a good fit.

The 25-year-old Guerrero is under team control through the 2025 season, and with Toronto not in a position to contend for a championship beyond 2024, Guerrero’s tenure with his hometown team could be reaching its expiration date.