The Caribbean series ended last week with Mexico taking the title. Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan took the final game over a talented Cuban team. After the game, the Gourriel brothers defected from Cuba. They are both two highly touted MLB prospects. The older brother, Yulieski Gourriel, is said to be Major League ready.
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Cuba has recently produced talents like Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Abreu, Yasiel Puig and Rusney Castillo. These players signed big contracts to play in the MLB and other than Castillo, have arguably lived up to the contracts. Because of the continued success of these players, Cuban defectors have become a hot commodity amongst MLB brass.
The Gourriel brothers will certainly get contracts from Major League clubs in the near future. How much will these contracts be? Only time will tell. Yulieski, 31, will draw the larger of the two contracts. A third baseman in his prime has potential for big money in the majors. The recent contracts of Chase Headley and Pablo Sandoval are examples of the third basemen who have cashed in during their “prime”.
Headley is 31 and recently signed a four-year deal, worth $50 million. He signed this contract hitting just 13 HRs and 49 RBI the year before. After signing his latest with the Yankees, Headley followed up that season with a mere 11HRs and 62 RBI.
Sandoval is 29 and signed a five-year deal, worth $95 million before the 2015 season. He’s best known for his postseason heroics with the San Francisco Giants. Two World Series titles helped Sandoval earn this mega contract. Coming off a season where he hit 16 HRs and knocked in 73 RBI in 2014, he produced a horrid 10 HRs and 47 RBI in his debut season with Boston.
Yulieski Gourriel is a power bat at the hot corner, and has a similar swing to fellow Cuban Cespedes. Gourriel will have a chance to step right into a Major League lineup and have the opportunity to produce. He can also handle third base aptly on defense and should be able to translate that success over to the Major League level. The question now is who will sign him? And for how much money?
Castillo recently signed a seven-year contract with the Red Sox for $72.5 million. Last year, another Cuban defector by the name of Yasmany Tomas signed for six years and $68.5 million. At 25, his defensive skill set is lacking in comparison to the elder of the Gourriel brothers. If teams don’t view Yulieski’s age as a barrier, he should be able to see similar results to Tomas in terms of money. should be able to land a five to six year contract worth around $64 million. With the big spending teams in need of a bat, Gourriel should be able to involve the big market teams in a negotiating war.
The New York Yankees would be wise t get in on the Gourriel sweepstakes. Needless to say, the Yankees cannot be pleased with Headley at third base. With the recent injury to touted prospect Greg Bird at first base, New York may want to give Headley reps as the starting first baseman.
Mark Teixeira has had injury issues in the past, and could be better suited to splitting time between first and DH to keep him fresh.which means Headley may be playing more first base than third base. A middle of the order bat in his prime will be tough to pass on for the Yankees. Even if the Yankees are attempting to cut back on spending, Gourriel could be a steal at this price.