It’s no secret that the New York Yankees could use another talented glove in the outfield. They are aggressively pursuing top-tier talent in the free agent market, and another name has joined the mix.
Arizona Diamondbacks OF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was ranked on MLB Trade Rumors’ top 50 free agents of the 2023-24 list and was matched with the Yankees as a viable suitor. Their team of writers had this to say about Gurriel:
“Gurriel turned 30 in October. He has one of the better offensive track records among a weak free-agent class. A three- or even four-year deal could be on the table. His camp could take aim at the four-year, $53MM contract secured by Avisail Garcia two offseasons ago. The Braves, Royals, Angels, Dodgers, and Mets could be potential matches.”
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Does Gurriel’s Age Counteract His Fielding Value?
Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner came out recently and said that he wants to make the team younger. At age 30, Gurriel Jr. provides veteran polish but strays away from Steinbrenner’s stance.
If a player can give All-Star production, perhaps Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman will be willing to coalesce. Gurriel started 89 games in left field in 2023. Impressively, he did not commit a single error on the year and posted a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage. He also produced eight assists, which was fourth-most among all left fielders.
Gurriel’s Hitting Prowess a Fix For Yankees’ Issues
Gurriel dialed in 65 runs and hit 24 homers behind a respectable .261 batting average. His 82 RBIs would have led the way for the Yankees had he been on their roster this season.
Accustomed to hitting fifth and sixth in Arizona’s order, Gurriel’s ability to drive in runs serves as a viable solution to the Yankees’ slight deficiency in that department. His .772 slug percentage also adds dexterity to what he can provide, as he also saw ample time at DH.
Gurriel has World Series experience. The Diamondbacks did lose to the Texas Rangers in this year’s championship series, but Gurriel helping the franchise reach the league’s biggest stage would give the Yankees a player that has gotten to where they have been desperately trying to go since 2017.
How the Money Stacks Up
In addition to wanting to go younger, Steinbrenner also wants to avoid reaching $300 million in salaries if he can. As MLB Trade Rumors also noted, a four-year, $53 million deal would tip the scales toward that threshold, with the team also gunning for San Diego Padres OF Juan Soto and Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Both will come at an eight-figure price tag annually, leaving the Yankees with less money to work with to round out the roster.
A superstar talent on the mound and behind the plate will likely dictate the ancillary moves that Yankees management makes. Gurriel’s ability to hit and defend makes him a solid option for the team should they go in that direction.