One name making the rounds lately is that of Yulieski Gurriel, the 32-Cuban infielder, who is on the crosshairs of the New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros, New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Gurriel has been busy using his Instagram account, showing he has enjoyed a good workout with the Astros. He has also been involved with private workouts for the Mets and Dodgers, and it’s not quite clear if he’s done auditioning for teams, or may still end up working out for the Giants and Yankees.
Gurriel can play in a number of infield positions, but third base is his forte, and that is where most teams interested in him are planning to use him, if he signs. The Astros and Yankees have been especially bad when it comes to getting offense out of their third basemen. The Giants don’t make much sense for Gurriel, but they’re looking to add all-around infield talent, not just someone for third base, from the things they’ve been saying.
The team in the most dire need for a third baseman are the Mets, who are trying to find an answer for the injured David Wright, and can move Gurriel to second base if Neil Walker leaves in free agency this season, unless they prefer to go with second-base prospect Dilson Herrera. For the Astros, bringing in Gurriel could mean holding back their minor league talent at the third base position, but he’s not going to play in second (Altuve is there). He could be used as a DH or maybe even left field, but that’s a bit of a stretch.
After playing in Japan for part of the 2014 season, Gurriel returned to Cuba, playing for Industriales these last two seasons, batting .500 with a 1.463 OPS in 2015. He hit 15 home runs through 49 games with 51 RBIs.