Blue Jays rumoured to be interested in Cuban Gourriel brothers


The Toronto Blue Jays are reportedly likely to pursue Yulieski and Lourdes Gourriel Jr., the high-profile Cuban brothers who defected earlier in the week

According to a report earlier today from Rick Westhead of TSN, the Toronto Blue Jays could be suitors for two prominent Cuban defectors in brothers Yulieski and Lourdes Gourriel Jr.

The brothers come from what Westhead describes as Cuban baseball’s “First Family”, as their father Lourdes Gourriel Sr. was a longtime member of the national team and remains an icon in his home country.

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Yulieski is 31-years-old while Lourdes, the youngest in the family and reportedly the likeliest Blue Jays target, is just 22-years-old. Westhead’s sources tell him that the youngest Gourriel appeals to Toronto given their thinned farm system, especially when it comes to infield prospects in the upper minor leagues.

While Yulieski can be signed without penalty given his age, signing Lourdes would leave a team subject to penalties if they go above international bonus pool money (unless he waits to sign until after his 23rd birthday in October, which could earn him a higher salary).

Coming out of Cuba, there are clearly a great deal of unknown variables with Lourdes Gurriel Jr., both in terms of his baseball profile and the potential money he could be demanding when the time comes for negotiations.

An executive that Westhead spoke with believes that both brothers will command a richer deal than the one handed to Yoan Moncada by the Red Sox this past offseason. Boston gave Moncada a $31.5 million bonus, which was doubled with a 100% overage tax. Again, this is far too early to have any realistic market established.

Don’t expect action on these names anytime soon, however. The process for Cuban players to become a major league free agent is lengthy, and as they’ve just defected from their home country, it will not be a simple timeline. As this is a relatively new story in the North American market, expect to see increased coverage on the brothers throughout the spring and summer.