The search for David Wright’s replacement has turned up several suggestions, but the priciest and arguably most intriguing is 32-year-old Cuban free agent Yulieski Gourriel, with whom center fielder Yoenis Cespedes played in Cuba.
According to Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News, Cespedes is heartily in support of the Mets’ signing Gourriel. The Mets’ center fielder referred to Gourriel as one of the best teammates he ever had, both as a person and as a player.
Whether or not Cespedes gets his wish is largely dependent on whether the Mets can keep up with the other teams expected to bid on Gourriel’s services, most notably the Yankees. The Mets still have insurance on David Wright’s contract, allowing them to recoup 75% of his salary once he misses 60 consecutive days, but it’s questionable whether that will grant them the kind of payroll flexibility that will be needed to sign Gourriel.
With Gourriel’s high upside comes some risk. Gourriel’s career line of .335/.417/.580 is certainly flashy, but it is difficult to say how he will adjust to the major leagues. Further, Gourriel is past his prime at age 32, so it’s doubtful that the Mets take a chance on a long-term contract. Still, the Mets need a third baseman, and Gourriel could be a high-risk high-reward option.