With a record of 37-36, rumors are swirling around the New York Yankees and how they can turn around their season in order to qualify for the 2016 MLB Playoffs. While the Yankees are not officially eliminated in the race to win the AL East, it is going to be extremely difficult for them to make up six games and pass the Orioles, Red Sox, and Blue Jays. Even though there are currently four teams ahead of them for the final wild-card spot, they are only two games behind.
The Yankees are long overdue for a lengthy rebuild, but this season can somewhat be salvaged. While it is going to be a tough battle for the final wild-card spot, the Yankees have as good of a chance as the Blue Jays, Royals, Tigers, and Astros. In order to improve their chances, the Yankees are meeting with Cuban star Yulieski Gourriel for a workout.
Do the Yankees even have a position for Yulieski Gourriel? They'll figure that out later https://t.co/jLfPnfQT85
— New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) June 25, 2016
As the New York Post reports, Gourriel may be able to play as many as three different positions.
“According to several people with knowledge of the situation, the Yankees will host Cuban free agent Yulieski Gourriel in Tampa for a workout. Gourriel, 32, is expected to perform in front of Yankees talent evaluators as early as this weekend or at the beginning of next week. Friday, general manager Brian Cashman didn’t want to address the Yankees’ interest in Gourriel, who can play third or second base. Some teams believe Gourriel can handle first base, too.”
The Yankees have long been linked to Gourriel. In addition to naming Alex Rodriguez his favorite player, Gourriel has also expressed his desire to become a member of the Yankees. At 32-years-old, Gourriel is not exactly a young player, but he is likely MLB-ready immediately. The biggest issue is that he is apparently looking for a huge contract. While the Yankees have been big spenders in the past, they have not been as active in free agency for the top names in recent years.
As NJ Advance Media notes, Gourriel’s professional baseball career has spanned 15 years. Out of his 15 seasons, 14 were spent in Cuba and the other was spent in Japan. His career batting average is.335, and he has 250 home runs and over 1,000 RBIs. While he is thought to be able to play three different positions, his primary position is third base.
If the Yankees decide to sign Gourriel, current Yankees third basemen Chase Headley could be standing in his way. Since Headley was acquired via a trade with the San Diego Padres in 2014, he has been a disappointment. In addition to a poor batting average, his power numbers have also been dropping every single season. While no one expected him to match the 31 home runs that he hit in 2012, it seems as though he has lost all of his power. He is hitting.252 this season with four home runs. While his fielding had been a problem in recent years, he is having a much better season defensively this year.
— FantasyBaseballCafe (@BaseballCafe) June 25, 2016
Even though Headley is clearly not the Yankees’ long-term option at third base, they may be unwilling to just get rid of him. He is still owed a total of $26 million over the next few seasons. The Yankees have “eaten money” for previous players that were not living up to their contract, but it appears as though Headley may be kept for the duration of his contract.
It is all going to come down to how Gourriel performs during his workout and how much money he wants. If the Yankees truly feel as though he can be successful at multiple positions, there could realistically be a spot for him on the roster this year. If they feel as though he has to play third base, it may make things much more complicated with Headley in the fold.
With Cuban star Yulieski Gourriel set to meet with the Yankees, rumors will continue to come out speculating the possibility that he signs. If he is not in New York this season, he could be there next year.
[Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images]