Yulieski Gourriel and Lourdes Gourriel Jr. have defected from Cuba and will seek major league deals according to a report from MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.
Brothers Yulieski Gurriel & Lourdes Gurriel Jr. reportedly defected and will be seeking MLB deals. Check https://t.co/mkcBseoZWQ for story.— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) February 8, 2016
Cuban players who are at least 23 yrs old and have played in Serie Nacional for 5 or more seasons are exempt from int'l signing guidelines— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) February 8, 2016
Yulieski Gourriel Jr., the eldest at 31, would be exempt from international signing guidelines and become a free agent. On the other hand, Lourdes Jr. is only 22 and will not turn 23 until October of this year. He will be subject to international signing guidelines if a team chooses to use some of their budget prior to his 23rd birthday.
The international signing period begins on June 15 and goes until July 2. Furthermore, a team would have to stay within their MLB-granted international signing budget or pay a penalty that could include fines or the right to sign future international free agents for a season or two. The severity of the penalty is incumbent upon the size of the overage.
Yulieski has primarily played third base over the past four seasons with Gallos de Sancti Spiritus of the Cuban National Series, though he played second base for the Yokohama Bay Stars of the Japan Central League. While his on-base percentage seemed to struggle in Japan, Yulieski played for Industriales de La Habana last season, and worked a .604 OBP in the very small sample size of 106 plate appearances.
Lourdes Jr., who is still young, has a career .355 OBP in 1036 plate appearances. He has been playing for the Cuban National Series since he was sixteen and just wrapped up his third season with Industriales de La Habana. In his 183 plate appearances last season, Lourdes Jr. posted an OPS of .924. According to Sanchez, Lourdes Jr. is capable of playing shortstop or the outfield but according to Baseball-Reference he is a first or second baseman. It's unclear what most major league teams would sign him as, but his bat should find a lineup a bit more definitively than his glove.