Yulieski Gourriel: Dodgers’ Next Big Get?


Rumor has it the Dodgers are interested in yet another Cuban free agent, and he could be a big addition.

The Dodgers have already signed several high profile Cuban defectors over the last few years. That’s why it’s not at all surprising to hear that they are interested in the best of the bunch: Yulieski Gourriel.

According to JP Hoornstra of the Los Angeles News Group, the team held a private workout with Gourriel on June 21st. He’s still scheduled to workout for the New York Mets and another unnamed team.

So the Dodgers have some competitors here for the services of the 32-year old free agent. During his time in Cuba, he was thought of as the best hitter on the island, and his stats are impressive to say the least.

A career line of .335/.417/.580 says he’s a polished hitter that can hit for average, power, and get on base. If you’ve been paying attention to the Dodgers, that’s something they sorely need. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s a solid defender at second base, third, and the outfield.

Scouts think he’s ready to jump to the majors and could contribute by the time the August 1st trade deadline rolls around. So essentially, he’s a trade acquisition that would cost money instead of prospects. The Dodgers have more of both than anybody, but would prefer to spend money.

Other than Yasiel Puig, who hasn’t been perfect himself, the Dodgers’ Cuban signees have been disasters. Yaisel Sierra is off to a terrible start in America, and Alex Guerrero and Erisbel Arruebarrena were both released. Gourriel could be the exception.

The difference between Gourriel and other Cuban free agents is his track record. Having played in Cuba’s top league since he was 17, he has almost a decade and a half of experience against Cuba’s elite players.

With that pedigree, here’s no reason to think he couldn’t come to America and provide at least above average offensive production. The only question is where he’ll find a home on defense.

Incumbent third baseman Justin Turner has been an elite hitter the last two years and is coming around with the bat this season, but he’s a free agent at the end of the season. I, and I’m sure the front office wouldn’t want to leave such an important offensive position to someone untested in the majors.

Some combo of Howie Kendrick and Chase Utley will cover second base until at least the end of next season. With Andre Ethier returning eventually, the Dodgers outfield will once again be impossibly overcrowded.

Next: Dodgers Potential Trade Deadline Strategies

There’s really no obvious spot for him to play. If Gourriel is as good of a hitter as scouts think he is, the situation will work itself out as these situations usually do. If the two sides can work out a short term deal, the Dodgers could get the impact hitter they need, while also saving the farm system to fill other needs.