It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Dodgers have a particular affinity for Cuban prospects. After being taken over by the Guggenheim Baseball Group in 2012, the Dodgers have flexed their financial muscles and have not been afraid to take risks on players from Cuba.
Over the past couple of seasons, the Dodgers have been no strangers to signing players out of Cuba, even those that carry with them a hefty price tag. Most notably, the Dodgers have signed:
- Alexander Guerrero for four years and $28 million
- Hector Olivera for six years and $62.5 million
- Erisbel Arruebarrena for five years and $25 million
and of course, Yasiel Puig for seven years and $42 million.
While Puig is the only one of the four still on the roster, the other moves show that the front office won’t shy away from giving big contracts to relatively unknown players. The newest player that the Dodgers have shown interest in is infielder Yulieski Gurriel, a 32-year-old who has 250 home runs and 1018 RBI’s while slashing .335/.417/.580 during his playing time in Cuba and Japan.
— Chavez Ravine Fiends (@RavineFiends) June 22, 2016
So unlike previous signings, Gurriel is a more polished product and has shown that he can produce at a high level. It was reported that the Dodgers held a private workout for Gurriel, who many assume will be slotted into third base. The New York Mets as well as a couple other unconfirmed teams held workouts for the Cuban as well, so it would seem that a bidding war is sure to ensue.
So far this season, the Dodgers have already signed Yusniel Diaz, pitcher Yadier Alvarez and infielder Omar Estevez to deals of $15.5 million, $16 million and $5.5 million respectively. So don’t be surprised to see Gurriel as the latest in an increasingly long list of Cuban born players wearing Dodger blue.
Here are some highlights of Gurriel’s playing time in Japan.