Friday, February 19, 2016

Making the Case for Yulieski Gourriel

The next big thing from Cuba is headed to the United States and could be ready as early as sometime in the 2016 season. Yulieski Gourriel is his name and he is bringing his younger and equally as talented brother Lourdes Gourriel with him. The Yankees are a long shot to sign Lourdes since he will be subject to international spending caps and limitations set by the league but the 31-year old Yulieski will not, he will be a true free agent. While the Yankees spending spree a couple years back will likely keep them from Lourdes only their own limitations will keep them from Yulieski, especially after he announced his preference to play for the Bronx Bombers. 

Yulieski wants to play here, you absolutely cannot put a price tag on that. Having a player that wants to be here in the Bronx rather than what many refer to as “hired mercenaries” shows up not only in their on the field play but in their clubhouse presence and off the field presence as well. This is not talked about enough and this may be more important than anything assuming the talent and production is there to boot so that’s why I listed it first. 

With that out of the way let’s get to the talent and the need that Yulieski would potentially fill in the Yankees organization. Yulieski is a third baseman by trade, a position the Yankees lack in behind Chase Headley,  and has put up a healthy .333/.415/.576 triple slash in his career with 235 career home runs in just 849 games. His bat is strong and his glove may be better as many scouts call him a “plus-defender” while gushing over his makeup, instincts, first move ability and mechanics. Some scouts have even gone as far as to call Yulieski a .300 hitter with 40+ doubles power due to his speed. That’s not a free agent, that’s a game-changer. 

The Yankees may not have the room now but they will have the room for Yulieski going forward. Mark Teixeira will need as much rest as possible at first base and Headley can handle first base with relative ease opening the door for Yulieski. Also Alex Rodriguez will need to play in less than 150 games next season to keep him fresh and healthy opening the door for DH at bats for Gorriel as well. Next season, 2017, the Yankees can take their time with the injured Greg Bird and have Headley play first base while having the Cuban-native play third base until Bird is deemed healthy and ready to return to the Bronx after a shoulder surgery that caused him to miss the entire 2016 season. 

This also sounds good on paper but we all know how the league and the endless paperwork can slow these things down. We have seen the process of declaring a Cuban-defector a MLB free agent take a few months up until a year with a seven month average eliminating any chance of Gourriel, plural, competing at all this season. Gourriel is already drawing comparisons to Adrian belter and Bobby Grich though so this may be a risk worth taking for the Yankees. This makes the team ultimately better and younger while allowing the organization to slowly dip their feet back into the Cuban waters and the Cuban market before a potential international draft is imposed. This is important, maybe one of the most important potential free agent signings of my time, and the Yankees need to get this done. It makes too much sense not to and that’s what worries me. 


  1. I wouldn't be against this signing, but I also wouldn't lose any sleep if it didn't happen. I honestly think that Castro will be playing third by the end of the year with Refsnyder at second. Headley will either be on the DL or playing first because Teix is on the DL.

    1. It may be 2017 before the Yankees can sign him anyway so it's really a moot point at this stage anyway but I see what you mean Jeff. You're probably right although these guys have a tendency of going out big in their contract seasons. At least that's what I am hoping for.

    2. Well you know they can only keep Refsnyder down for so long. He proved in September that he can hit at the major league level. Sooner or later, they're going to have to find him some at bats.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Yeah if you mean "so long" being about the July time period when they trade him as an "excess" piece for a piece that will make them "World Series" caliber... then yeah, you're right.

  2. YULIESKI GOURRIEL....Daniel, you are doing it again.

    You wet the appetites of the Yankee faithful. They all now want a thick
    slice of this imported Gourriel beef.

    The next days sun arises, and they realize that nothing changes, while
    they endure another feeding of Vienna Sausage, packed in some form of a mystery liquid. Is this the third world Yankees ?

    Old Ken, will have a better handle on the mystery liquid, than I do.

    1. Gourriel openly wants to play for the Yankees. Most IFA's come here looking for money, Gourriel was making over a million a season in Japan plus what little he was making in Cuba. He's on the wrong side of 30, he isn't chasing a payday. I may be overly optimistic or blind but I smell a "hometown" discount.

  3. THE Mets are going to the World Series !! say's their GM, and
    all that follow in lock step with them.

    They are on the the finger to you, and I. F--- you!

    The same team that lost a fortune to the ponzi devil...Bernie Madoff.
    Since Mike Piazza threw his bat at poor Roger Clements, they have
    lived in the bowels of the earth. Earth worms.

    Yet here they are now screaming...
    ..." Mets Lives Matter !"...." F--- the Yankees !"....and " Now it's
    our turn !"....It will get worse if they do indeed win games.

    Our guys ? " We want to compete, and win a World Championship."
    Really, Mega team ?....What have you done to accomplish that end ?

    1. Happens with every bandwagon team. And yes, if you do it once and lose half your fans when you don't do it again you are a bandwagon team in my opinion. Plenty of teams do it, Mets should be and won't be any different and neither will their fans. Roll your eyes and move on.

      Mets Lives Matter.... I like that.

    2. No they don't Daniel...
      I have one living next door to me and he is a big pain in the arse!
      I have open fields on three sides of me and visit with the Deer and Fox every day until he comes out in the later AM and shouts..."Do you see the Deer?" a true "City Slicker".


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)