3:26pm: Gurriel negotiated an additional $300K on top of the $8MM that was originally guaranteed, per Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com (via Twitter).
The new contract is structured as a straight one-year pact, although that doesn’t come with a lesser tax hit as one might think; a person familiar with the contract tells MLBTR that for luxury tax purposes, the termination of the original contract comes with a fee that amounts to an “upcharge” — the size of which covers the gap between his new $8.3MM salary and his previous $9.5MM luxury hit.
The new arrangement provides Gurriel with a slight boost in salary while avoiding any possibility of a contentious hearing that might’ve stemmed from opting into arbitration. The clause stipulating that Gurriel become a free agent at the end of the contract and his previous awards bonus package all carry over to the new deal. He’ll be a free agent next winter.
2:41pm: Yuli Gurriel’s five-year, $47.5MM contract with the Astros affords him the opportunity to opt into MLB’s arbitration system once eligible. But he’ll forgo that right and play out the 2020 season on the original $8MM salary dictated by the contract, tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.
Although Gurriel will have only four-plus years of service time when his contract expires at the conclusion of the 2020 season — as opposed to the six years typically required to become a free agent — he’ll nevertheless head to the open market next winter. Gurriel’s contract stipulates that he be released by the Astros upon completion of the deal at the end of the 2020 season, thus allowing him an opportunity to once again test free agency.
One of the premier players in Cuba throughout the 2000s, Gurriel left his home country in early 2016 alongside his younger brother, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Both have since realized their dream of playing in the Majors. The elder Gurriel has remained a productive hitter into his mid-30s and, in 2019, turned in the best season of his career at the plate. In 612 plate appearances as Houston’s primary first baseman, he slashed .298/.343/.541 with 31 home runs, 40 doubles and a pair of triples.