As Yuli Gurriel’s free agency lingered into the late stages of the offseason, many Astros fans wondered whether there might be potential for a reunion between the two parties. Houston GM Dana Brown candidly acknowledged last month that while the organization loved Gurriel as both a person and a player, it would be difficult to get him at-bats with the current construction of the roster, however. Gurriel, who signed a minor league deal with the Marlins last week, spoke further about his former team’s interest — or lack thereof — in an interview with Matt Young of the Houston Chronicle. The Astros, according to Gurriel, never made an offer for him to return for an eighth season.
The 38-year-old Gurriel told Young that “leaving my teammates behind after seven years is something that truly affects you” but added that he’s looking forward to starting a new chapter with a new club. The Astros, of course, signed Jose Abreu to a three-year contract early in the offseason, apparently deciding that it was simply time to move on from Gurriel after a down year in 2022.
More on the ’Stros…
- Right-hander Lance McCullers Jr., who’ll open the season on the injured list due to a forearm strain, says he’s been cleared to resume lifting weights and throwing a baseball (link via Brian McTaggart of MLB.com). McCullers started a throwing program on Saturday and is playing catch every other day. He’ll sit down with the training staff at some point over the next week and map out a more concrete plan to ramp up for a return, assuming the light throwing and lifting he’s doing right now continue to proceed without issue. A forearm strain also limited McCullers to just eight regular-season starts in 2021, and he missed the entire 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery. When healthy, he has of course been a highly productive pitcher, evidenced by a 3.39 ERA over his past 393 1/3 MLB frames, dating back to 2018. McCullers is entering the second season of a five-year, $85MM contract extension that was signed two years ago (nearly to the day). Top prospect Hunter Brown is expected to open the season in Houston’s rotation in his place.
- Manager Dusty Baker said this week that southpaw Parker Mushinski is “probably not” going to be ready in time for Opening Day, Young writes in a separate piece. The 27-year-old has been out with back spasms and has yet to pitch in a spring game. He allowed three runs in 7 1/3 frames during last year’s MLB debut after pitching to a 2.66 ERA in 40 2/3 innings of Triple-A ball. Fellow lefty Blake Taylor has also been sidelined due to elbow troubles, and while he’s on a throwing program, he’s not even a lock to get into a spring game. That pair of injuries could create an opportunity for February waiver claim Matt Gage to open the season in the Houston bullpen. The Astros don’t have another lefty on the roster, though Austin Davis is in camp as a non-roster invitee after agreeing to a minor league deal over the winter. Gage has thrown five shutout innings with a 5-to-1 K/BB ratio this spring. Davis has tossed five innings of one-run ball but walked six along the way.
I’ve seen enough of Davis in Boston to know that the Astros would be better off going with Gage
Love him as a player and a person (lol?) but can’t even offer him a minor league contract on the off chance he prefers to stay in the area, even if there aren’t a lot of AB’s available… what’s going on with the Astros PR department?
Perhaps the team realizes WS wins produce a superior PR effect than a contract extended on sentiment.
Yuli is a racist.
A minor league offer from the team you have played for may have been a slap in the face. Don’t think that is the PR they were looking for.
The Astros know when to let go of old and declining players.
steven st croix
2 rings because Manfraud is bad at his job.
He needs an Astros crying towel to dry his tears and make it better.
Only when your mom spanks me
So stupid to force a LHP on the roster just to have one for Dusty. We have plenty of relief pitchers who are so much better getting lefties out than any of those guys
That’s probably true in todays game where you really can’t play the match-ups anymore. It’s why guys like Matt Moore, Will Smith, and Brand Hand all lingered in free agency for so long. The LOOGY is going the way of the Dodo bird it seems
Moore was really more than a LOOGY last year. He actually faced 136 more right-handed batters than LHB, and held them to a better OPS. Hand was also better at limiting the damage RHB did compared to LHB. Smith was the only one who did worse against opposite-handed batting.
Maybe teams are also wising up and realizing that having a reliever on the roster for only a third of an inning is a bit of a wasted roster spot. Really the last pure LOOGY was likely Randy Choate, who pitched in 72 games, but only had 27.1 innings in 2015. He had the fourth most appearances for any reliever from 2009-2015, but less than 250 IP.
Astros are going to win it all again.
Why is there a photo of Lourdes Gurriel for an article about his brother?