Yuli Gurriel has been an asset for the Houston Astros. He’s been a consistent, productive player since he arrived at the Major Leagues, won a batting title, his defense was worth a Gold Glove a year ago, and he’s become one of the most beloved players in the Astros’ environment in recent history.
But, as life itself, everything has come to an end, right?
And the 2022 season, no matter how it rounds up for Houston, should be the last one of Gurriel playing for the Astros. And there are at least two reasons why…
First off, Gurriel is already 38 years old. And unlike some rare exceptions, that’s usually the age when your body begins asking for retirement. I can’t say that premise is related to Gurriel’s season-long struggles, but it makes you think.
The Cuba native, through Saturday, has appeared in 132 games this year, posting a .243/.291/.367 slash line with poor registers in OPS (.658) and OPS+ (87) as well. Even though Gurriel does have 37 doubles, he’s recorded only 46 runs batted in. His bWAR is at 0.0, which means he’s been a replacement-level player.
Second, the Astros have another good first baseman that’s potentially available via mutual option for $10 million — which can work as a short-term fix until they get someone for the long term. With that option, they’re basically buying time to decide whether they can stick with Mancini in the long run or go after someone else.
If the Astros are planning to pursue somebody in the free agency, the 2022-2023 offseason will not be heavily loaded with first basemen. Besides Gurriel and Mancini if the Astros don’t exercise his option, José Abreu, Brandon Belt, Josh Bell, Carlos Santana, and Jesús Aguilar are impending free agents. Eric Hosmer, Anthony Rizzo, Miguel Sanó, and Dan Vogelbach have options in their current deals.
So, at least for now, Mancini appears to be the Astros’ best option to cover first base in 2023 with the potential absence of Gurriel.
When it comes to Yuli, we need to enjoy and appreciate what should be the final days of the great Gurriel. Hopefully, the seven-year veteran will end his Astros’ tenure with a bang and —why not?— a World Series.
It’s your call. What do you do with Gurriel?
This poll is closed
Let him go!