Yuli Gurriel is one of the more accomplished free agent hitters still available, though he’s seeking a bounceback opportunity after a rough 2022 campaign. It seemed things were moving towards a resolution a couple weeks ago when reports suggested his camp was making progress in talks with the Marlins. However, Miami eventually pulled back that pursuit.
That has left the 38-year-old without a publicly defined market. The only other teams tied to Gurriel this offseason are the Twins and the incumbent Astros, with whom the Cuban infielder spent his first seven big league seasons. Jon Heyman of the New York Post wrote yesterday Gurriel had sought a guarantee in the $3MM range at one point this offseason. Whether that’s still his goal is unclear, though the Post reports he declined multiple contract offers that were apparently below his asking price.
Heyman adds Houston manager Dusty Baker would like for Gurriel to return, though it’s not clear if there’s a fit on the roster given the team’s early-offseason pickup of José Abreu. Houston has Yordan Alvarez and Michael Brantley to split time between designated hitter and left field. Any path to playing time on the Astros roster would be as a right-handed bench bat. Houston already has a pair of right-handed infielders — Mauricio Dubón and David Hensley — who could crack the roster while offering more defensive flexibility.
Gurriel has some previous MLB experience at second and third base but has played almost exclusively first base since the start of the 2020 campaign. That’s at least in part because Houston has Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman entrenched at those other infield spots. Gurriel garnered solid marks from public defensive metrics for his intermittent third base work between 2016-19 and was a Gold Glove winning first baseman as recently as 2021. His defensive marks at first base cratered last season, though, which could give teams pause about his ability to handle any more demanding positions as he enters his age-39 season.
His offense is something of a question mark as well. Gurriel is coming off a .242/.288/.360 line with just eight home runs through 584 regular season plate appearances. He finished the year with an excellent 12-game playoff run (.347/.360/.490) before a World Series-ending MCL sprain in his right knee. On the one hand, it was Gurriel’s second well below-average offensive showing in the past three years, as he managed just a .232/.274/.384 showing during the shortened 2020 schedule. Yet his intervening season was brilliant, as he posted a .319/.383/.462 mark in 143 games in 2021, securing an American League batting title.
Gurriel still has excellent bat-to-ball skills. Last year’s 12.5% strikeout rate was a personal high but checked in roughly ten percentage points below the league average. Even with a below-average slash line, he collected 40 doubles for the third time in his career. Still, the 2022 season also represented the first time he failed to reach double-digit homers in a full season, and his on-base percentage was fifth-lowest among 36 first basemen with 400+ plate appearances.
There are a few remaining rebound targets available at the position in free agency. Longtime Twin slugger Miguel Sanó will hold a showcase for scouts next week, while 2020 home run leader Luke Voit is unsigned after being non-tendered by the Nationals. Gurriel brings a far different approach than those high-strikeout sluggers, though Sanó and Voit are far younger.
I’m shocked Nelson Cruz got signed before this guy. Then again Cruz got signed for 1 million and Yuli wants 3 million.
Other factors include his desire to start and expected HR output. He was clutch in the postseason. But he only produced 8 HR the regular season and those excellent bat-to-ball skills were often excellent bat-to-ball-to-GIDP skills.
And my pathetic A’s signed Jesus Aguilar for $3 million
Yeah that is crazy if they could’ve got Yuli instead.
Yea, but they aren’t a cheater and child-like racist, so if we’re gonna be terrible we’ll do it with class!
Have you forgotten the juicer cheater Razor Ramon?
In America, it’s profitable to mimic, criticize and antagonize white people. It’s illegal for white people to return the gesture. In fact, being a white person and proud of who I am makes me a racist.
@geoffb: Oh Jesus H!
Maybe he didn’t want to go to Oakland.
It helps greatly to have Juan Soto in your corner
as a Dodger fan, and as a man with an Asian wife and kids, I really can’t stand this guy. Good riddance if he doesn’t play in MLB again.
The weirdest part was the way he did it, like a 7 year old on a playground.
Being outraged on behalf of others…touch some grass.
Defending people you don’t know making racist gestures, a life well lived.
My pathetic A’s gave Jesus Aguilar $3 million to strikeout what I believe will be 70% of the time instead of Yuli, a division rival they know damn well has excellent bat to ball numbers. I hate being an A’s fan
Jesus Aguilar has often been fun to watch at the ballpark since his personality just busts out. He’s not the usual deadass baseball robot.
But I can’t condemn his signing as coo coo while Gurriel sits and supposedly can’t get the same offer.
They both aren’t very good anymore. I’d sign neither.
But since the Cubs inexplicably signed Hosmer, lousy first basemen everywhere still have hope. I don’t understand any of it.
Hosmer only cost 700,000 and they will cut him in August unless he is outperforming Mancini and Mervis
Don’t be so hard on your team. It’s quite possible that he just didn’t want to sign with your A’s for geographic or other reasons, such as wanting to play with a winner. Meanwhile, he could be holding out hope on a return to Houston. Maybe he should just retire.
Exactly. Or maybe those Cali taxes
Athletics Trivia: On what promotional game day did the Oakland A’s draw their highest attendance figure for the last two decades?
HINT: you only have to give me the name of the promotional day?
The answer is “Bark at the Park”. 2 fans showed up with their dog. The Athletics counted the 4 people in attendance
A’s had 56,000 in July 2018 hosting Giants, even Mount Davis was full. A’s usually get a large crowd for Giants, Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs. Great affordable place to watch your favorite team play the A’s. Hope that they get a new owner but stay in Northern California.
Troutahni, a lotta work to get to the punch line. Work harder.
Gurriel likely will only take a contract with a competitive team. Miami may have been an exception because he lives there.
The Astros really don’t need him, but they don’t want him to be embarrassed with no job. Personally, I think he’s a wasted roster spot, as he’s redundant defensively and mediocre offensively. I’d much rather have a versatile defensive INF with a .650 OPS.
Mets need to cut Ruf and sign this dude. It’s so obvious it hurts.
Is it obvious? Their offense was a wash last year, Ruf’s fielding was better by Statcast’s measure, and their last good year was 2021, when Gurriel’s OPS and OPS+ were good but Ruf’s were better. Ruff is old in baseball years, but not as old as Gurriel. If they cut Ruf and sign Gurriel, they’ll be paying for both of them.
Yeah Ruf >>> Gurriel. But they both are washed and if the Mets want a decent 26th man they can trade for one easily.
Your boy Ra is still obsessing over me, maybe you can tell him that convo has been long over lmao
Twins are still the best fit but probably needs to come down from the $3 million asking price
Rangers could use the DH
No need for him and his little racist antics. Garver, Mathias, Lowe we have plenty of options for DH. We need a LF. But no need to sign any mediocre players. Let the young players play and see what they can do.
Astros don’t need him. Give Hensley a shot for less money. More versatile, less expensive and should produce similar (if not better) numbers.
Didn’t really get a chance to see Hensley’s “versatility” much last year considering he oftentimes was the DH
Astros a don’t need him. Give Hensley a shot for less money. More versatile, less expensive and should produce similar (if not better) numbers.
Who’s at first in AZ? Unite the Gurriel Brothers together for a season?
Christian Walker has solidified himself as DBacks 1B.
Christian Walker is a 30 homer first baseman for snakes
They happen to have of the best young 1B in the game. No need for a mediocre racist.
He’s old and only produced for a small window last year offensively….sounds like a yankee to me.
But that small window was during the playoffs
I can already hear Cashman saying “well Yuli isn’t playing to the back of his baseball card”
They could use a player of winning pedigree. Rizzo will need time off throughout and hits the IL every year.
As a Yankee fan.. he’s one of those guys you never wanted to see in a big spot. So I’d rather not see him!
deGrom Texas Ranger
In 2015, this guy hit .495 with an Bondsian 1.400+ OPS and walked 41 times, while striking out just 4 times. That was in only 248 plate appearances, but still… wow! He has been much better during odd years than even years his whole career, so he should be a great buy-low candidate. I wonder if baseball executives are superstitious enough to actually believe the odd year luck.
He did not debut until 2016 according to his page. And his first two seasons he hit .262 and .299, not sure where you’re getting that from???
deGrom Texas Ranger
He’ll be 39 in June and he hit .242 last year. Take a one-year deal and be grateful.
Why not promote a minor league player for league minimum? You’ll likely get the same production.
Yuli is a clutch player. Always gets big time hits. Has defensive versatility but more suited to 1B. HR Power output has dropped quite a bit but still is a doubles machine. $3M is appropriate at this stage in his career but will be hard for Stros to give him playing time.
Guy is done. Aaa depth. Non- roster invite to ST.
3m – on the phone- you got to be joking.
He was linked to the sox too. Remember? There were actually rumors he signed with Boston. Which would make sense given the Alex Cora/Houston players connection and Bloom’s affinity to bring in old guys on short term deals on the cheap
He’s probably a couple of years older than listed. It says he started playing Cuban ball at age 17 which seems a bit young. Not uncommon in Cuba. I know El Duque said he truly did not know when his birthday was or how old he actually is.
This one belongs to the Reds
Luis Tiant back in the day was the same.
We’re at that stage where agents/players better start recognizing that the money and opportunities aren’t there. Some of these guys are going to end up having to head to the minors or Asia, or they’re going to end up ‘retired.” Gurriel, Voit, Sano…the questionable 1b/DH market is glutted at this point.
If the Twins traded Kepler they would for sure sign this guy to bring a right handed bat to the lineup, but I don’t think the Twins are getting offers to their liking with Kepler.
So he might be one of those injury signings once a team loses a DH or player for the season.
I think Sano will have a very difficult time finding any suitors despite his immense power. Work ethic and even some of the off field troubles and lack of production are all barriers. I am going to bet he gets either a minor league deal or ends up in Japan.
Voigt is an Oakland A’s type of signing.