The Astros’ signing of Serie Nacional superstar Yulieski Gurriel became official today. Here’s the latest on what the signing means, with most of the details emerging from a Saturday press conference at Minute Maid Park.
- The Astros also plan to pursue Yulieski’s 22-year-old brother Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Mark Berman of FOX 26 tweets. Lourdes and Yulieski defected from Cuba together earlier this year. Lourdes, unlike Yuliesky, is currently subject to rules regarding international bonus pools (although he’ll be exempt starting in October) and will likely command a very large bonus to sign — he’s regarded as a top prospect.
- The Astros acknowledge that, with all their infield talent, Yulieski isn’t the easiest fit for them, as FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal explains (all Twitter links). They do not intend to trade top prospect Alex Bregman, however. Instead, they plan to use their DH spot to create opportunities for both Gurriel and Bregman, with Evan Gattis and A.J. Reed likely to lose playing time as a result. The Astros could potentially use Gurriel and Bregman at a variety of infield positions, with Bregman also potentially seeing time in the outfield.
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow says Gurriel could also play the outfield, according to Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter links). The team has had Gurriel work out in the outfield and feels he has athleticism and a plus arm. The Astros’ aim has simply been to acquire as many good hitters as possible and allow defensive alignments to fall where they may.
- The Astros will send Gurriel to their Florida complex, then perhaps to Double-A Corpus Christi, Jake Kaplan of the Chronicle tweets. Via Berman, though (on Twitter), the Astros do hope to have Gurriel in the big leagues later this season.