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Lourdes Gurriel Jr. declared a free agent

Less than one month after his older brother signed, Lourdes is now eligible for his turn.

South Africa v Cuba - World Baseball Classic - Mexico City Day 1 Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

After defecting from Cuba just six months ago, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has been declared a free agent and is thereby eligible to sign with any major league team.

The 22-year old is able to play multiple positions and will most likely slot in as a first or second baseman, though he has played shortstop and outfield before as well. In his 1036 career plate appearances in the Cuban National Series, Gurriel boasts a .355 OBP. In his most recent season, Gurriel boasted an OPS of .924 in the limited work of just 183 plate appearances.

Lourdes defected with his older brother Yulieski back in February. The 32-year old third baseman signed a 5-year, $47.5 million deal with the Astros less than one month ago. Since then, he has collected 23 plate appearances in Rookie-Ball and High-A and is expected to make his major league debut relatively soon.

Widely considered the better of the two, Lourdes Jr. should generate substantial interest from multiple teams down the postseason stretch. It wasn’t expected that Lourdes Jr. would be eligible for free agency prior to his 23rd birthday due to MLB’s international signing guidelines. That being said, Longenhagen did add that upon turning 23, teams will not have to use their international bonus pool to sign him.

Instead though, Lourdes Jr. is not only eligible to sign two months prior to his birthday, but his signing could legitimately tip the scales of some key pennant races. That being said, there seems to be the distinct possibility that a non-contender signs him or that he remains in the minors in order to better acclimate to the MLB’s level of play.