Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Lourdes Gurriel Jr. should not be involved in any offseason trades

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 02: Lourdes Gurriel Jr. #13 of the Toronto Blue Jays runs to first base during a MLB game against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on October 2, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 02: Lourdes Gurriel Jr. #13 of the Toronto Blue Jays runs to first base during a MLB game against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on October 2, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

Last offseason, Blue Jays outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. found his name involved in trade rumours after the club signed George Springer to a six-year deal. It makes sense, as the Cuban product has a very team-friendly contract and is starting to come into his own at the Major League level since transitioning to left field.

Even with all the rumours and the addition of the former Astros outfielder, none of the outfield core of Gurriel Jr., Randal Grichuk, and Teoscar Hernandez was moved, which turned out to be a smart move considering the newly acquired Springer spent roughly half the season on the injured list.

Heading into the 2021 offseason, the Blue Jays are sitting in an interesting position when it comes to free agency and trying to improve the roster for next season. Marcus Semien, Robbie Ray, and Steven Matz are heading to the open market and the Jays could be looking to improve the team via trade, with the rumour mill reporting the club was interested in Jose Ramirez and Robbie Grossman at the trade deadline but were unsuccessful.

If the Blue Jays are looking to explore these avenues again or look into other impact-worthy players like Matt Chapman or Pablo Lopez, each trade is going to require some significant prospect/player capital to get the deal done. This could get Gurriel’s name back into the trade talk this offseason, a move that doesn’t seem that wise in the long run.

The Blue Jays could look to Lourdes Gurriel Jr. this offseason for a top player like Jose Ramirez or Matt Chapman but that may turn out to be a mistake in the long run.

Over the next two seasons, he is hitting the Blue Jays payroll for a combined total of just under $11 million dollars, but won’t be free agency eligible until after the 2024 campaign as he is scheduled to go through arbitration for one year before hitting the open market. These past two seasons have really seen Gurriel Jr. take off on both sides of the game, developing into a steady bat at the plate and one of the top arms in the Jays outfield.

This year, Gurriel posted a .276/.319/.466 with 21 home runs and a .785 OPS. For his career, the righty-batter owns a .282/.324/.492 line with 63 home runs, 202 RBI, and a .816 OPS, smashing 20+ home runs in two of the past three seasons with last year being shortened to just 60 games due to COVID-19. He also earned a silver slugger nomination this season.

Defensively, Gurriel started his career as an infielder but developed a case of the yips, resulting in a brief demotion back in 2019 where he transitioned into an outfielder and found his groove. While his routes may have looked awkward at times, his arm is top-notch, evident by his highlight reel throws to home plate and his 24 assists over the past three seasons through 224 games started. He owns a .987 fielding percentage with five errors and a 1 bDRS and played well enough to earn consecutive gold glove nominations.

With team-friendly contract control worth its weight in gold combined with his rising play, Gurriel Jr. should be going nowhere this offseason.

His name may come up in trade talks if the club starts up discussions trying to land a top player like Ramirez but he should not be dealt, as he can be a force in the Blue Jays lineup over the next three years alongside Vladimir Gurrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Teoscar Herandez. Cleveland was interested in Gurriel when they were talking about Francisco Lindor last offseason and they very well could be looking to acquire him once again but for Ramirez instead.

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While there really is no such thing as an untouchable player, although some would argue Gabriel Moreno and Orelvis Martinez fit the category, trading Gurriel Jr. would be a mistake in my opinion.

He has a terrific arm and is an athletic player who fits in well with the roster and keeps posting great batting numbers. The Jays should look to trade Randal Grichuk if they need to create room in the outfield although he will bring in considerably less in value compared to Gurriel based on stats and his contract.