New York Yankees Rumors: Top Cuban Slugger Yulieski Gourriel To The Yankees?

While the New York Yankees have not exactly been active in free agency this offseason, rumors are swirling regarding possible moves that they can make over the next few months in order to bolster their lineup and pitching staff. For a team that has not made a World Series appearance in over six years, the club has been doing things differently this offseason. Instead of chasing the biggest free agents on the market, they are taking a more conservative approach, which is unlike anything that the organization has done in recent years.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, some analysts believe that the Yankees are playing the long game and are attempting to save money in order to sign Bryce Harper in 2018. While that still remains a possibility because of Harper’s star power and his desire to play in a large market, the Yankees still have to put a respectable product on the field over the next few seasons. As also reported by The Inquisitr, the Yankees have recently been linked to free agent pitchers Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee, but they have not signed either of them. While CC Sabathia is reportedly looking healthier than he has in years, Yankees’ fans know that the team is going to have to make a move or two in order to compete in 2016.

While the Yankees have not yet said they are interested, Cuban slugger Yulieski Gourriel is rumored to want to play in New York this season, according to NJ Advance Media. At 31-years-old, Gourriel is not exactly a young player, but he may be just what the Yankees need in order to secure some much-needed offense. Known as the best player in Cuba, Gourriel recently defected from the island nation in order to play in the Major Leagues before he retires.

Over his 15-year-career, Gourriel has a batting average of.333 with 245 home runs and 999 RBIs. While those are great numbers, it is important to note that Gourriel has not faced MLB pitching over his career. Regardless, many players from Cuba have successfully made the transition to the MLB. Since he is no longer a young player, Gourriel could avoid some of the issues that Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig has dealt with over the past few seasons.

As Gourriel told Yahoo Sports last year, the Yankees are attractive because of Alex Rodriguez.

“This is the dream of all players — to play at the maximum level of baseball in all the world. We are ready when they say we have permission to play. We are ready for the lifting of the blockade. Then we can come play.”

While playing with Rodriguez is a dream for Gourriel, he clearly wants to join the Yankees for a variety of other reasons. As the most popular baseball team in the MLB, Gourriel wants to play at the highest level on the biggest stage. While the Dodgers, Red Sox, and other teams have increased their payrolls in recent years, the Yankees remain the gold standard when it comes to star power.

Throughout his career, Gourriel has played third base. While he is reportedly able to play second base, both spots on the current Yankees’ roster may already be filled. With a contract valued at $52 million, Yankees third basemen Chase Headley appears to have the spot locked up for at least another season. In 2015, Headley hit.259 with 11 home runs and 62 RBIs. His WAR of 1.1 was his lowest since 2009, so Headley appears to be on the decline as he approaches 32-years-old. Regardless, Headley is still probably the best starting option for 2016 when his contract is taken into consideration.

Adding Gourriel still makes sense. If Headley continues to decline, Gourriel could step in right immediately and start at third base. He could also be used as a utility infielder and provide depth.

With a few months to go until the start of the 2016 MLB season, rumors will continue to link the New York Yankees with the top remaining free agents. While the Yankees have not specifically stated their interest in Cuban slugger Yulieski Gourriel, he would jump at the chance to play in the Bronx this year.

[Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]