Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Dodgers Shouldn’t Rely on Immediate Help From Yulieski Gourriel

Yulieski Gourriel

This is more exciting than anything that happened in last night’s game: News broke this morning that Yulieski Gourriel, 31, and his brother Lourdes Gourriel Jr, 22, have defected from Cuba in order to pursue gigs on major league teams.

This is incredibly exciting given that they’re Cuban infielders projected to make impacts on a major league team.

Yuliesky is known in international circles as the Cuban Babe Ruth, he owns the most aesthetically pleasing stat line in sports: the .300/.400/.500 triple slash line, slashing .333/.414/.577 in 15 seasons between the Cuban National Series and the Japan Central League, he hit .535/.604/1.012 in 106 plate appearances last season. This is a stat line that I imagine Bryce Harper could rival if he received plate appearances in the Cal League. I will write more in depth about Lourdes Jr because he is the more interesting prospect for the Dodgers, but we should talk about Gourriel because he is big league ready right now according to Ben Badler

The Dodgers fetishize depth like no other team with their level of resources, so of course they are going to be in on a player with his hitting ability, Yulieski might prove to be a good option to play 3rd base when Justin Turner‘s knees act up (they will) and be an option at second base, first base, and left field.

This is an important position to have and while you don’t want to take away plate appearances from Enrique Hernandez, I suspect Hernandez will have a lot of work platooning at any position save for catcher when the Dodgers face a LHP, so a high end option at 3rd base will help a ton at fielding a competitive lineup as often as possible.

I do want Yuliesky because the kind of player who “can step into the middle of a lineup immediately” is such a rare commodity in today’s game. And while this isn’t a big concern, because Justin Turner does not need to carry the team, I do worry about his ability to keep up the all star level of play, especially coming off of offseason knee surgery.

So yes, signing him will be preferable, especially since Turner is set to become a free agent after the 2017 season, Gourriel can be a long term option despite his age. However Yulieski just cannot be counted on to contribute beyond this season. This goes beyond the recent “Cuban middle infield” misses that the Dodgers have experienced lately, it’s about Gourriel’s time of defection.

Hector Olivera defected in September of 2014, waited for the US government to clear him to play in MLB games and the Dodgers officially announced the signing in May (!) This is a 7th month process that played out because of health concerns, issues of establishing residency in another country, and waiting for the government to clear him.

This was no different for Alex Guerrero who defected in January of 2013 and didn’t sign officially until October of 2013.

Yulieski’s timeline in this case would be a September when he gets an official major league deal, maybe a couple months earlier if he rushes it because of his age. However we haven’t even covered the fact that he might or might not need minor league seasoning to get back in baseball shape, so his situation is muddled at this point.

The process is not an easy one, and in Olivera’s case, injuries made it to where he never played a game in a Dodger uniform, Alex Guerrero defected, was deemed to be close to major league ready and didn’t get consistent playing time until this past year (until he was just bad). These things are always more complicated than they seem, Badler acknowledges this:

Over the next few months, Yulieski will be hyped in the media and deservedly so, I cannot wait to watch him crush baseballs in the United States, it’s something i’ve wanted to see for a long time, however there’s almost no chance he makes a 2016 impact on a big league team this season, temper the expectations in the most immediate sense.

Adrian Garcia

Adrian Garcia

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15 thoughts on “Dodgers Shouldn’t Rely on Immediate Help From Yulieski Gourriel

  1. What are their ages and why should the Dodgers count on them this year if they haven’t even signed them? The ag line sounds like they are already signed by the Dodgers.

  2. So is it Yulieski or Yuliesky? y is Russian, i is Polish. e is Kike and if we sign this Polish Russian guy from Cuba e ain’t gonna be thrilled even more he ain’t thrilled now.

    1. Sign and put two more Cubans on the 25 man roster and Guerrero and Hernandez might be sitting in a corner of the dugout together like Guerrero and Puig did last year assuming the Dodgers go with only 4 relievers.

  3. Here we go again . . . some more names drop of players from foreign countries and we wonder if the Dodgers get one or both of them — where they would fit in.

    Not sure I even want to go there. Because other fan boards MUST be talking about the same thing, if the player/s signed with them. Then we will read of the six teams all in a bidding war for the player/s. Get glimpses of private tryouts and every experts opinion.

    In the end our smart guys will not sign them, the money will be too high. Period. We have been there before.

    1. I don’t see the need for more Cuban infielders, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think they might do it. We’ll be linked. But my guess is nothing big for a while. Spring. It’s shaping up is to be very interesting, hopefully spirited Spring Taining.

      1. I agree with everyone, that the Dodgers shouldn’t sign these guys, especially the older brother. The Olivera signing was a bad signing, thankfully they dealt him to the Braves. He was 32 and already had missed the last couple of seasons in Cuba, because he had a serious blood disorder. Instead of signing another Cuban infielder, the Dodgers should either find out, how good Guerrero is, or get him to a team, that he will have a chance. I would be weary of any infielder from Cuba, because some think that Guerrero can’t handle third, and Olivera, isn’t a better infielder then Guerrero. And Guerrero answered that question on Olivera, when he was asked. He said that Olivera didn’t play secondbase, like the players in major league baseball. I think the Dodgers need to find out what kind of hitter Guerrero is, either to keep him, or like some here have wrote, to increase Guerrero’s value, so the Dodgers can deal him elsewhere. Guerrero did have good offensive stats in Cuba, as well as in AAA, and anywhere else, he has played for the Dodgers. I don’t count Guerrero’s stats from the second half of the season, because of the way he was handled and played. There are not many players that would produce, in there first taste of the majors, that were played like Guerrero.

  4. We all know that whichever big Cuban star we don’t sign will go out and become the next Mike Trout or Bryce Harper

      1. joke. because we seem to be in on signing all of them, so the one that we finally don’t get will be the diamond

          1. That is how it always going to be, if your a Dodger fan. Vinny schooled all of us, on this fact, at a very early age.

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