Cuban brothers Yulieski Gurriel and Lourdes Gurriel, Jr., who defected last month and are in the process of being cleared for MLB free agency, will be represented by the Wasserman Media Group, reports Jon Heyman (on Twitter). Yulieski, the older of the two, is believed by many to be the top player in Cuba and will be exempt from international spending limitations due to his age (31) and professional experience. While the fact that he’ll turn 32 this June will limit his earning capacity when he is eventually declared a free agent, Yulieski still figures to command a sizable multi-year deal on the open market. Lourdes, on the other hand, is subject to international bonus pools, though he could very well command a pool-shattering bonus despite the fact that he’ll probably begin this next step of his career in the minors. There’s been talk that the two brothers could come as a package deal in free agency, though that’s obviously preliminary, and a number of factors will ultimately influence where each infielder signs.
A couple of other international notes…
- Cuban right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez will host a showcase for interested clubs on March 17 in Kissimmee, Fla., reports Baseball America’s Ben Badler (also via Twitter). The 20-year-old is subject to international spending pools but is one of the more promising young arms on the market and, unlike the brothers Gurriel, is free to sign with a club right now. Of course, Gutierrez could elect to wait to sign until after July 2, as there are probably teams that have interest right now but would be penalized for signing him and exceeding their bonus pools. Gutierrez reportedly switched representation recently and is now a client of the Legacy Agency.
- MLBPA executive director Tony Clark recently implied to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (links to Twitter), that Major League Baseball could look to alter the posting system with the Korea Baseball Organization to more closely resemble the recently reworked posting system with Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. “We’re aware of considerations being discussed even as we speak that would be more reflective of that (Japanese) system,” said Clark. As it stands right now, when a KBO team posts a player for Major League teams, all 30 MLB clubs have the option of submitting a blind bid, and the team that submits the top bid is awarded exclusive negotiation rights with that player. The Japanese system used to work that way as well but was updated so that NPB clubs now set a release fee of up to $20MM, and any club willing to meet the release fee is then able to negotiate with the player in question.