The Toronto Blue Jays have reportedly signed Cuban prospect Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to a multiyear contract.’s Jesse Sanchez first reported the utility man agreed to a deal with the Blue Jays on Friday. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported the contract is for seven years and is worth $22 million. 

Gurriel was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball in August, but by waiting to sign until after his 23rd birthday on Oct. 19, he became exempt from international signing bonus regulations. 

Sanchez reported in February that Gurriel and his brother, Yulieski Gurriel, who signed with the Houston Astros in July and made his big league debut on Aug. 21, had defected from Cuba with the goal of playing in MLB. 

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the Blue Jays plan to start him in Double-A at shortstop, though he may end up in the outfield.

In an April 2015 scouting report from Baseball America‘s Ben Badler, Gurriel was ranked as the No. 4 prospect in Cuba thanks to a good approach at the plate and solid bat speed with the upside of 20-homer potential.

Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs noted that when Gurriel was declared a free agent, scouting reports were mixed because he has athleticism, speed and power that will play at an up-the-middle position, but his swing can get long, and he’s considered something of a project at 23 years old. 

The Blue Jays have not been shy about taking big risks on high-upside athletes in recent years. Anthony Alford was an unpolished baseball player when he was a third-round pick in 2012, but since giving up his college football career in 2014, he’s blossomed into one of Toronto’s top prospects. 

Gurriel won’t make an immediate jump to the big leagues like his brother did for the Astros, but his ceiling and future value are significantly higher because he’s nine years younger and can afford to take a full season in the minors to hone his skills. 


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