The Toronto Blue Jays have a logjam in their prospective infield for 2019 which begs the question if Lourdes Gurriel Jr. would be better suited to reestablish himself as an outfielder?
Loures Gurriel Jr. has been utilized primarily as either a shortstop or second baseman since signing with the Blue Jays in 2016. However the 24-year old moonlighted as a left-fielder in 40 games for the Industriales de La Habana of the Cuban National Series during the 2015/16 campaign.
Gurriel played 307 innings in the outfield that season making one error with three assists in 59 chances. With the plethora of infielders currently on the roster, a move to the outfield could make sense and ensure Gurriel’s bat remains in the lineup on a day to day basis.
Along with Gurriel, the Jays have Aledmys Diaz, Devon Travis, Yangervis Solarte, Brandon Drury and Richard Urena in the fold for 2019. This does not even take into account the injured Troy Tulowitzki or the eventual promotion of third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
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Who knows what the complexion of the infield will look like after the offseason but it is definitely something to consider. I am somewhat surprised the Jays haven’t flirted with the idea during these meaningless September games.
The native of Cuba has made six errors in 101 chances in 33 games at shortstop for the Jays this season. He also has another two errors in 24 games at second base thus far in his rookie campaign. Gurriel does possess a plus arm with decent enough speed to make a switch to the outfield.
Gurriel has proven his bat belongs in the majors after compiling multiple hits in 11 consecutive games earlier this season. The utility player is hitting a respectable .286/.318/.427 with 57 hits including seven homers in 52 games.
With outfielder Teoscar Hernandez struggling to make consistent contact and often looking lost on defence, Gurriel may be an upgrade in left-field which would afford the Jays the option to utilize Hernandez as a platoon player in a fourth outfielder role.
There will be plenty of decisions to be made during the offseason but Gurriel does have prior experience in the outfield so it may be an easy fix to keep his bat on the field.