The Marlins and first baseman Yuli Gurriel are in agreement on a deal, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It’s a non-roster pact, tweets Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. At this point, the financials of the deal aren’t known.
Gurriel and the Marlins have been dancing with each other for a few months now. They were first publicly connected to each other in January and further reports have connected to the two sides since then. About a month ago, it was reported that the Marlins offered Gurriel a deal around $2MM but took it off the table when about a week went by without a response. Just a couple of days ago, it was reported that the two sides were still talking, but that Gurriel might have to settle for a minor league deal.
This will be the second MLB organization for Gurriel, who has spent the previous seven seasons with the Astros. He was a solid offensive contributor for the first chunk of that time but has been fairly inconsistent in the past few seasons. From 2017 to 2019, he hit .296/.333/.486 for a wRC+ of 119, indicating he was 19% better than league average in that time. He struggled badly in 2020, finishing with a diminished line of .232/.274/.384, 76 wRC+. He bounced back incredibly in 2021, winning a batting title with a line of .319/.383/.462 and 132 wRC+. But another dip followed in 2022, as he hit .242/.288/.360 for a wRC+ of 85.
The Marlins will be looking for another upturn from Gurriel, who turns 39 in June. Despite the up-and-down nature of his overall production, he’s been quite consistent with his lack of strikeouts, as he he’s only been punched out in 11.2% of his career plate appearances. Last year, that went up to a career-high 12.5% rate, but that was still barely half of the 22.4% league average.
In recent years, the Marlins have had good pitching but have been lighter on the offensive side of things. They tried to add some thump to their lineup a year ago by signing Jorge Soler and Avisaíl García, but both players struck out in over 28% of their plate appearances last year. Even though Jazz Chisholm Jr. had a great breakout last year, he also was punched out in 27.4% of his trips to the plate. Other players like Garrett Cooper, Bryan De La Cruz and Jesús Sánchez also struck out more than a quarter of the time.
It seems like the Marlins diagnosed this issue, as they’ve brought in a few players this winter with much better bat-to-ball skills. They signed Jean Segura and his 13.8% career strikeout rate in December, then acquired Luis Arraez and his 8.3% strikeout rate in January. Now with Gurriel added into the mix, that’s three tough-to-strikeout hitters that have been added to the organization in recent months.
Gurriel has played multiple positions in his career but he’s essentially been limited to first base over the past three years. It’s possible that he gets the occasional look elsewhere, but given his age and recent track record, it’s hard to imagine the Marlins giving him extended time at a position other than first base. The club’s best option at that position at the moment is Garrett Cooper, who is an underrated hitter but has struggled to stay healthy. Cooper has hit .274/.348/.440 in his career for a wRC+ of 117, but he’s yet to play 120 games in a season due to health issues. Adding Gurriel would give the club a bit of a safety net in the event that Cooper struggles, or simply allow the club to manage his workload.
If the Marlins are willing to consider Gurriel at other infield positions, he could potentially bolster a group with some uncertainty. In the past eight months, the club has traded their long-time shortstop Miguel Rojas to the Dodgers, non-tendered third baseman Brian Anderson, released first baseman Jesús Aguilar and moved second baseman Chisholm to center field. The club has answers for those positions, though they all come with some level of risk. Segura was signed to play third base despite just 24 career games at that spot. Arraez was acquired to take over at second base, though he was bumped into more of a first base role with Minnesota last year. Then there’s the injury-prone Cooper at first. All of that seemingly leaves Joey Wendle as the shortstop. He’s generally received passable grades at that position but only in a part-time role and he’s now turning 33 in April.
Gurriel has played all of those positions but his nine innings of shortstop experience came back in 2018. His occasional appearances at second base ended in 2019. His time at third is a bit more extensive, but it’s been just two innings over the past three years combined.
If they want to add Gurriel to the MLB roster, the club should have an easy time opening a spot. Max Meyer and Anthony Bender could be moved to the 60-day injured list, since both are going to be out for a while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.
Wild card here we come!
They should play Arraez at first, Chisholm at second and Segura at third. Gurriel could be the dh or switch with Arraez.
Doing that takes Cooper out of the lineup which is something they don’t want to do. Soler is gonna be main DH.
If Gurriel makes the team, he would be Cooper’s backup. The lineup is better with Cooper in it than with Gurriel in it.
Agreed, at this stage, cooper is better. Still like signing Gurriel since Cooper seems injury prone.
And who plays CF?
Wouldn’t work. This team is going to be a disaster defensively imo. CF is an extremely important position and they are throwing Jazz out there. He’s a great player but CF is not an easy position. Wendle is their only solid full time defensive player.
With all the noodle bats they brought on board, they will be a disaster offensively as well.
In that division? Not a chance.
Nice moves Gurriel and Iglesias basically for free.
deGrom Texas Ranger
Who is the man in charge making these moves? It doesn’t sound like the “GM” Kim is behind these reasonable moves.
It won’t let me comment either I’m on my phone to see if this works but my computer it just says Loading
Yuli ought to fire his agent if this was all they could find.
He ll b 39 during this season and is a contact hitting 1B with little power. Teams want power in 1B ans DH spots in today’s game.
Backup Catcher to the Backup Catcher
Every so often you see guy pull up to a 7-11 driving a rusting twelve-year old Nissan Sentra, buy some scratch-off lottery tix and then shows up the next day driving a brand new Cadillac Escalade. Hey, somebody has to win, right?
These last two signings by the Fish are good examples of baseball’s version of scratch-off lottery tix. Don’t cost much to buy but could pay off handsomely.
However, don’t forget that the parking lots of 7-11s all over the country are littered with losing tix.
Have you ever seen a whole kitchen trash can full of ramen noodle wrappers?
I have, and it was a direct result of said lottery ticket scenario. Those were lean years, man
Great deal for the Marlins. They could be sneaky good this year
Good luck Yuli!
Dumpster Divin Theo
Good luck with what? Finding a table at a sushi restaurant?
I think he’ll have a bounce back year.
Ng is really trying to totally change the team by making it a super low K rate team.
Last year Miami had the 5th highest K rate in the majors and this year the might be lowest 5, that would be a huge change. Kinda modeling the team after the guardians who are like that too.
The big question is how much the power suffers. They won’t be a high slugging team but if they drop another 25 team Homers they might be still a bad offense even with a lower K rate because they just don’t hit it out of the infield.
Well they do have have a lot of power in the OF and to a lesser extent with Coop.
Its just a matter of those players staying healthy for a good portion of the season which has not happened.
I think its been a pretty successful offseason and NG has built a solid team. Will that translate in a postseason birth? That’ll be difficult in this division.
Having the said that, the Marlins should be very difficult to deal with themselves and I wouldn’t be surprised with an 80 win season,
Where do they have power in OF?? De La Cruz no, Jazz no, Garcia nominal, Soler not much. They have a bunch of 20 HR types in OF. This team was built around contact hitting.
Kinda fitting that the flamboyant Cubano winds up in Miami. Hope he and Iglesias flourish.
I appreciate the fact he blew 2 million dollars. Typically, I hate to see people lose money but in my eyes, I’ll always remember him for the racist gesture he made towards Darvish during the World Series.
It’s very unfortunate but you are not the only one.
Sometimes your biggest mistake is on the biggest stage and you never overcome it.
We are all only human.
Yuli is everything that is right about baseball. Fun loving, very giving to younger players fans and the community, and legendary success if you include his international numbers.
It’s a shame 2 seconds can’t be deleted because there is nothing else negative. Period.
Nothing else negative… for some reason I feel like the 2017 World Series did have something else negative… what was that?
Yuli was a spanish speaking rookie and new to the U.S.
Are you really saying that he was in any position to control or stop the cheating system?
What language did Carlos Beltran speak? Weird you’d use that as an excuse.
On one hand you talk about his international career, on the next you say “he was a rookie” and then you use his language as an excuse. However you want to live you life.
The cheating makes the racist gesture that much worse. Kind of like when Bonds said he was better than Ruth while juicing out of his mind.
And I don’t really fault a guy for cheating, I do fault him for “showing up” another player knowing good and well he was cheating. I also fault him for not owning up to his mistake, apologizing isnt owning up either before you attempt to play that card. He said “I meant no disrespect” which was blatant lie.
My point in bringing up his language is that it is another adjustment. Another thing that would delay him from feeling established and in a position to change or stop what established veteran players and coaches were doing.
The racial gesture was a terrible mistake. Uncool and not acceptable.
He realized it immediately and apologized to Darvish who forgave him. Then he served his suspension.
Among baseball players and those around the game, he is respected and liked. It is not ever brought up.
And now only someone looking for reasons to hate still bring it up.
Well it’s good to know that you read his mind and know better than anyone else what is in his mind and heart.
I’m sure you have never made a mistake. Mr. Perfect
Forgiveness is only a word to the race-obsessed. They never really practice it. Wishing Yuli a productive (and non-controversial) season, except against the Nats, of course.
Really good signings in Gurriel and Iglesias. Good contact hitters and Yuli is going to bounce back.
Agreed. Wish the Nats had gotten them. Good bargain players.
Near as I can tell the Nats decided it was pointless to sign talented veterans who could help them win games. So instead they signed a few questionably talented veterans who can help them again post a 55-107 record while they wait for their weak farm system to produce questionably talented youngsters who will post a 55-107 record.
Well alright! Now we’re almost guaranteed that someone will be playing 1B. Now Cooper can take his annual stints on the IL.