Today, Jesse Sanchez reports that the Houston Astros will be the team to land Cuban star Yulieski Gurriel, inking him to a five-year, $47 million contract.
The 32-year-old Gurriel has been considered by many to be the best player in Cuba for a while now, and he could immediately contribute to a surging Astros club. Interesting to see the Astros in on this kind of move – they hadn’t been playing in the deep end of free agency for quite a while.
As for the Cubs, there is no direct impact here, since they were not involved with Gurriel. The secondary impact is questionable, too, as no other NL Central teams were among the seriously rumored teams to be pursuing Gurriel. How Gurriel signing right now will cause ripples in the trade market, however, will be interesting to see. Will the Rangers now feel slightly more anxious to make a move for an arm to firm up their grasp of the AL West? If so, there could be some overlap between whom they pursue and whom the Cubs do.
That’s just one example, of course. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming weeks, and, of course, how Gurriel’s skills translate to MLB. Major Cuban signings seem to have been less immediately impactful in recent years, and I wonder if that had an impact on the contract for Gurriel, which is not outlandish.