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Why a Yuli Gurriel-Astros reunion could work

Yardbarker logo Yardbarker 2/7/2023 Marc Ray, Yardbarker
Yuli Gurriel. © Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports Yuli Gurriel.

Yuli Gurriel's return to the Houston Astros remains uncertain. 

The 2021 Gold Glove winner and AL batting champ gained interest from several other teams, but a reunion with his former team could still work. 

The 2022 World Series champions didn’t waste time adding to their already powerful lineup in the offseason. Less than a month after winning their second World Series title in five years, the Astros signed 2020 AL MVP José Abreu to a three-year, $58.5 million deal. 

The addition of first baseman Abreu signaled the potential end of Gurriel’s tenure in Houston. Nonetheless, the Astros have expressed interest in bringing him back, per Jon Heyman of the New York Post and others.

"Yuli Gurriel had been seeking $3M," Heyman wrote Thursday. "Dusty Baker is stumping to get Gurriel back with the Astros, though the fit is tight after they signed Jose Abreu."

If the Astros re-sign Gurriel, he’d likely be used in a limited role. Gurriel’s offensive and defensive skills could benefit the club in case of a potential injury.

Last season, he hit .242 with a .648 OPS. He hit 40 doubles, tied for the second most in his career, and stole a career-high eight bases. The 2022 season saw a statistical drop for Gurriel in many categories compared to previous seasons, but he could be a great asset for a team aiming to win back-to-back championships. 

There might be a level of concern centered on Gurriel's age (38) and an MCL injury suffered in Game 5 of the 2022 World Series. A limited role could restrict those worries.

The Astros could move him around in the lineup during the 162-game season. The seven-year veteran could also contribute off the field by mentoring teammates.

“La Piña” made his MLB debut for the Astros in 2016 at age 32. Since then, he has been a part of four World Series rosters. The 2017 and 2022 World Series champion was reportedly close to a deal with the Miami Marlins, but the sides couldn’t agree to a deal.

Now the door remains open for him to return to a team and city that he is familiar with. 

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