7:40 pm: Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins says the surgery is related to Gurriel’s hamate bone, per McGrath.
Gurriel spent 2022 as Toronto’s primary left fielder, slashing .291/.343/.400 (114 wRC+) in 121 games this season. With just 5 home runs in 2022, Gurriel saw his power evaporate this season. Gurriel had hit at least 11 home runs in every season of his career prior to this year, with 21 homers in 2021 being the most he had hit in a season, and his second time eclipsing 20 home runs in a season. The news that he had been dealing with a wrist issue this season may provide an explanation for this power outage.
While his power dipped in 2022, Gurriel’s season wasn’t a total loss. He still posted the 51st lowest strikeout rate in the majors among hitters with at least 400 plate appearances along with the best wRC+ in a full season of his career, though he fared better during the shortened 2020 season (134 wRC+) as well as during his 84 games played in 2019 (125 wRC+).
Headed into the offseason, Gurriel’s hold on the everyday left field job in Toronto already seemed tenuous, with the outfield being a clear place where the Blue Jays could improve their offense going into 2023. With Gurriel expected to be ready for spring training, there’s little reason to think the surgery changes the front office’s calculus, but it’s still likely that Toronto looks for upgrades at the outfield corners this offseason, with the likes of David Peralta, Joc Pederson, and Mitch Haniger among potential options.
Regardless of any potential additions to Toronto’s outfield, Gurriel will earn $5.4MM for his age 29 season in 2023, the final year of his seven year, $22MM contract with the Blue Jays, after which he will be eligible for free agency.