Blue Jays recall INF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. from Triple-A Buffalo

TORONTO, ON - MAY 9: Lourdes Gurriel Jr. #13 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates after getting to second base safely on a misplayed ball in the outfield in the third inning during MLB game action against the Seattle Mariners at Rogers Centre on May 9, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MAY 9: Lourdes Gurriel Jr. #13 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates after getting to second base safely on a misplayed ball in the outfield in the third inning during MLB game action against the Seattle Mariners at Rogers Centre on May 9, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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Prior to Monday’s contest against the Tigers, the Blue Jays recalled infield prospect Lourdes Gurriel Jr. from Triple-A Buffalo.

The man with the fantastically crazy hair is back. According to a tweet from the team’s official PR department, infielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has been recalled from Triple-A Buffalo and will start in the game on Monday.

In a corresponding move, the team has optioned utilityman Darnell Sweeney to Triple-A. Sweeney appeared at third base for just one inning in a 9-1 blowout on Canada Day. Throughout his career, he has played second base, third base, and left field. Before signing with the Jays, Sweeney appeared in 37 games for the 2015 Philadelphia Phillies, slashing a meager .176/.286/.353 in 98 plate appearances.

It really comes as no surprise that Gurriel is getting the call back to the majors. While his stats show rather mediocre offensive performance (.222/.243/.361, 3 HR, SB), he showed quiet promise in his limited stint with the team.

Defensively, he was very impressive, demonstrating excellent athleticism and baseball knowledge on the diamond. Since being optioned to Buffalo on May 13th, he’s slashed an outstanding .288/.313/.475 with six home runs and 29 RBI in 147 plate appearances. Additionally, he’d stolen three bases and walked three times.

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Gurriel’s contract situation is vital to understanding the reasoning behind this move. His deal, which is worth $22 million over seven years, is of the major league variety, meaning he will become a free agent immediately following the completion of the terms.

With that being said, the clock is ticking on the young Cuban. If he’s not brought up now, then his time in the minor leagues will still contribute to the time on his deal. Unlike fellow minor leaguers Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, there are next to no disadvantages of bringing him up now.

A versatile fielder and a solid hitter, Gurriel seems poised to make an impact on this team not only this year but in years to come. Let’s hope that he can string some hits together because when he’s hot, he’s one of the most exciting players on this team.

Next: Blue Jays: This is Kevin Pillar’s year for a Gold Glove award