Over a month after signing him to a five-year, $47.5MM contract, the Astros will promote infielder Yulieski Gurriel to the majors Sunday, reports Julia Morales of ROOT Sports (Twitter link).
[RELATED: Updated Astros Depth Chart]
Gurriel, one of the most accomplished athletes in the history of Cuba, hasn’t gotten off to an overly productive start in a small sample size of 95 plate appearances in America. In his first game action of the season, the 32-year-old hit .229/.293/.361 with two homers while spending minimal time at four different minor league levels. The Astros will now hope to receive something a bit closer to Gurriel’s output in 2015, when he concluded his career in Cuba by notching a hit in exactly half of his 174 at-bats. In 225 plate appearances, he drew 38 walks against a meager three strikeouts and smashed 15 home runs en route to an .874 slugging percentage.
Given their collection of infield talent, there have been plenty of questions regarding where the Astros will use Gurriel. Initially, he’ll serve as their designated hitter, according to Angel Verdejo Jr. of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). That means fellow midseason call-up Alex Bregman will continue at third base, where the highly regarded 22-year-old has spent most of his time since the club promoted him last month.
If the hot corner is where the Astros want Bregman for the long haul, it could push Gurriel to first base or even the corner outfield. First baseman Luis Valbuena suffered a setback with the strained right hamstring that has kept him out all of August, and he could miss the rest of the season, per Todd Karpavich of MLB.com. Gurriel could slot in there in the near term, then, but the Astros have a highly touted prospect who’s currently in the majors in A.J. Reed. In the outfield, Houston hasn’t gotten much production this year from anyone other than George Springer. With Colby Rasmus out until next month with an ear cyst and scheduled for free agency in the offseason, left field seems like a logical landing spot for Gurriel.
Regardless of where he plays, the Astros need the Gurriel signing to pay dividends immediately if they’re going to climb back into the American League playoff race. The Astros were surging when they recalled Bregman on July 24, but they’ve since lost 16 of 25 and are 9 1/2 games behind AL West-leading Texas and 4 1/2 out of a wild-card spot.
That was fast
Atlanta Braves Fan 4 Life
Gurriel to me did not deserve $47.5 million dollars. When did playing in any league not MLB count as proven. Houston did not sign a prospect he is 32 years old. The market on guys from others countries is ridiculous. Houston is not paying for potential at his age he has probably hit his prime…….playing in Cuba! I have nothing against Houston maybe it works out but the grass is not always greener, so to speak. High risk, low reward player but maybe he hits 25 home runs next year and proves me wrong.
I’m glad they didn’t go by what YOU think he deserves, but I’m sure the took the advice of the scouts they pay.
Teams threw money at him because he’s one of the best players to come out of Cuba, however they’re also going after his brother who is a top prospect, so maybe you overpay on one with hopes to get the other to follow.
You should really check your facts before making such bold statements. He didn’t just play in Cuba. He was an accomplished player in Japan and Canada, as well. He also played for the Cuban National team in the WBC against several MLB players. Yes, he should have defected years ago, because his age seems to be the only strike against him. He is by far the most polished positional player to come out of Cuba, rivaling Jose Contreras, as the most accomplished. The biggest reason for his somewhat modest contract for a player of his stature is the fact several big name Cuban players (Castillo, Olivera, Guerrero, and Yoan Lopez) have flopped in recent years. Had he defected after 2014 when he was a couple of years younger and Puig/Abreu had amazing rookie seasons he would have gotten almost twice the money the Astros gave him. He has been, far and away the consensus #1 Cuban talent, for years now.
Unfortunately, being the best of an overall unimpressive lot isn’t saying much. If you total all the contracts of the recent Cuban players, and then look at the value they have provided in the majors, Matt Kemps contract suddenly looks appealing. A few have provided high value, but even more have never made it up at all. There appears to be a rather BIG adjustment from that level of competition to the Majors. Along with the social adjustments to being in a different country, and suddenly having more money than they could dream of back home, it’s surprising that as many have had a positive impact for their team.
And Yasmany Tomas.
He will be another Rusney Castillo.
Correct me if I’m wrong but his dad is considered the best Cuban ball player ever. So I’m in the minority and am taking a wait and c approach. When u r from Cuba and ur dad is considered the best player to never play in the mlb from a third world country. Then there’s hype that may be tough to live up to. From everything I’ve seen the younger one is the height weight speed prospect that comes with up the middle potential. If u sign one with hopes of signing the other then ok I guess but for 47mil with a young team who is going to start needing to lock sum guys up, doesn’t make much sense. If he’s a bust that’s money that could b used to extend actual talent.
If you’re going to throw money at a Cuban player at least make sure hes listed at under 25 years old.