It’s that time to wonder about whether or not the Los Angeles Dodgers are interested in players that just defected from Cuba. This time, the two defectors were brothers Yulieski Gourriel (31) and Lourdes Gourriel Jr. (22). They left after Cuba lost in the Caribbean Series Semifinal.
The brothers are both primarily infielders, so if the Dodgers were to be interested in them then it’d make for an interesting situation due to the team’s logjam in the infield. However, talent is talent is talent and the more talent the better. That’s one way to look at this.
Brothers Lourdes Gurriel Jr., 22, and Yulieski Gurriel, 31, defected from Cuba’s Ciego de Avila team following the Caribbean Series that concluded Sunday in order to seek contracts with Major League teams, according to sources. Lourdes is considered the top prospect in Cuba while his brother is considered the country’s best player.
Yulieski hit .535 in 106 plate appearances for Industriales de La Habana in the Cuban National Series last year. He’s a lifetime .333 hitter with 245 home runs and 118 stolen bases in 899 games. However, he is 31 years old. So, whoever signs him will surely use him in the big leagues right away.
His younger brother, Lourdes, hit .321 with 8 home runs and 32 runs batted in 183 plate appearances for Industriales de La Habana last season. The 22-year old is a lifetime .269 hitter in Cuba but, as noted by Jesse Sanchez, he is widely viewed as the top prospect in the country.
Yulieski spent time in Japan in 2014 where he hit .343 in 209 plate appearances while playing second base and third base. He’s 6’0″. Lourdes plays shortstop and outfield, and he stands 6’3″.
The international signing guidelines will not likely apply to either brother as players have to be 23 years old or younger for teams to dive into their international pool money. If Lourdes, who turns 23 in October, holds off on signing with a big league team until after his birthday, then he’ll be in play for a ripe payday.
If both players are on the open market later on this year, then the team who is willing to spend the money required to get either one (or both) could stand to gain. With Yulieski already being ready for the Majors, and Lourdes not far behind, teams should definitely be willing to pony up the dough to sign them.
That team could very well be the Dodgers seeing as how they’ve been heavily invested in the Cuban mark thus far, and the ties they have in that area are sure to give them a leg up on the competition. We’ll see what this means in the end, but the Dodgers have to like their chances if they’re willing to throw their hat in the mix.