The Blue Jays have kicked off the offseason in a surprising way, signing 23 year old infielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to a seven year, $22 million deal. Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com first reported the signing, and Joel Sherman of MLB Network reported the salary and term.
Lourdes is the younger brother of Astros outfielder Yulieski Gurriel, and boasted a .344/.407/.560 slash line in his final season in Cuba. He is a right-handed hitter who is known for his approach at the plate, as his strikeout-to-walk ratio is extremely strong.
He is also known for his defensive versatility, as he's played every infield position in addition to spending some time in the outfield. This article from MLB Trade Rumors profiles Toronto's recent addition nicely, noting that he opted to sign after his 23rd birthday to avoid international bonus pool restrictions.
Ben Badler also profiled him here, but since a subscription is required, we'll share what MLBTR quoted from the article:
"Baseball America's Ben Badler ranked Gurriel as the fourth-best player in Cuba at the time, crediting his patient approach at the plate, bat speed and good command of the strike zone. Gurriel has "a chance to be a plus hitter with a high OBP" with potential 20-homer power.". The rest of this article, written by Mark Polishuk, can be found here.
It sounds like he may require some time in the minors, and could profile at second, short, third, or the outfield. He's listed at 6'4, 205 pounds, and is known to posses a strong arm. Badler, on twitter, notes that he's actually gotten a step quicker since he last profiled him.
He seems likely to start his season in AA or AAA, especially when you consider that he did not play in 2016. It's also unclear if he will have the right to opt-in to arbitration down the line, which would give hm the potential to earn more than $22 million over the course of the contract.
Toronto's plan is to start Lourdes Gurriel Jr. at shortstop, probably at Double-A. Ultimately, thought is he may end up a corner outfielder.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 11, 2016