For those wondering why Cuban free agent Yulieski Gurriel was photographed wearing a Dodgers cap at Dodger Stadium last night, it’s not because he has signed there. But Gurriel did take part in a private workout for the club, according to J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles News Group.
Of course, the Dodgers won’t be alone in pursuing a player who is by most accounts the best of his generation from Cuba. The Mets reportedly also have a workout scheduled, and Hoornstra reports that at least one other team does as well.
Gurriel recently turned 32, so he’s not in the middle of his prime. But he has long drawn praise from scouts as a polished all-around performer, and his market promises to be fascinating to follow now that he has been declared a free agent. Gurriel not only hits for good power, but has immaculate plate discipline and a quality glove at third or even second base.
We’ve heard chatter in the past about international signings essentially functioning as trade deadline additions, and it hasn’t generally turned out that way. Such an impact may be more plausible than ever in this case, though, since Gurriel is considered a fully-developed and top-quality talent and given the timing of his entry onto the market. Still, though, he’ll surely need a ramp-up period and at least a brief run through the minors, so it’s quite a different matter to add him than it would be to trade for a player directly off of another major league roster.
It remains difficult to guess how things will shake out for Gurriel in terms of both price tag and landing spot. MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk recently broke things down, discussing the Dodgers but also several other clubs as prime possible contenders for the Cuban star’s services.