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Astros Agree to Five-Year Deal With Cuban Infielder Yulieski Gurriel

Cuban star Yulieski Gurriel has agreed to a five-year, $47.5 million contract with the Houston Astros, according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.

MLB declared Gurriel a free agent on June 13, and had been drawing interest from the Padres, Mets, Yankees, Dodgers, and Giants prior to signing with Houston.

Gurriel, 32, slashed .500/.589/.874 in 224 plate appearances in the 2015 Cuban National Series for the Industriales. Gourriel blasted 15 home runs while driving in 51 runs, striking out just three times and walking 38 times.

According to the projections, Gurriel is expected to hit .285 with 18 home runs and 85 RBIs in a full Major League Baseball, drawing comparisons to Jeff Kent. Gurriel can play second and third base while also being able to shift over to left field if needed.

The Astros are expected to give Gurriel 50 to 60 at-bats in the Minors before calling him up in early August. Gurriel’s name was previously spelled Gourriel before his family changed the spelling less than two years ago, according to MLB.com.

It’s hard to see an immediate need for Gurriel on the Astros roster with Jose Altuve at second, Carlos Correa at shortstop, and Houston’s top prospect Alex Bregman expected to be the team’s future at third base. It remains possible that the Astros see Gurriel as a super-utility player.

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