Former Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. spent some time with Sportsnet reporter Hazel Mae in a recent interview before a World Series game. The Cuba native has been a catalyst for a resurgent Arizona Diamondbacks team that reached the Fall Classic for the first time in 22 years.
For Jays fans, it was a fascinating peek inside the mind of a player who had grown to be a beloved figure for parts of five seasons from 2018-2022. With the help of the D-Backs Player Interpreter/Coordinator of Media Relations Alex Arpiza, the colorful Cuban dished on being on baseball’s biggest stage, getting traded, Gabriel Moreno, and more.
Gurriel was candid in describing his feelings following his trade from the Blue Jays last December. The news took an initial emotional toll on the 30-year-old, but he was able to turn the page and move forward. Onto Arizona, he went, along with Moreno, the polarizing deal that saw Daulton Varsho land in Toronto. Mae asked Gurriel about his impressions of the young Moreno in his first MLB season.
As much of a softball question as it seemed to be, it offered a chance for the left fielder to boast about his phenom catcher teammate, calling his performance “incredible” and that Moreno is “like a little brother to me.” He also mentioned the comfort of being traded with a teammate and that the two were able to support each other through that journey.
Gurriel had arguably his best season in 2023 with career highs in hits (144), home runs (24), doubles (35), and bWAR (3.0) while being named to his first All-Star team. He credited a higher level of maturity and better health after recovering from a hand injury in 2022.
As painful as it may have been for Blue Jays Nation to watch Gurriel and Moreno get their team to the precipice of a championship, seeing the “Piña Power” smile again is always a welcome sight.