Yuli Gurriel Gurriel will begin the year with the Marlins
Jupiter, Fla. — Marlins general manager Kim Eng announced Sunday that first baseman Yuli Kuriel will make the Opening Day roster, while shortstop Jose Iglesias will remain with the organization. Both Cuban players had the option of opting out of their contracts on Saturday.
Both signed minor league contracts on March 10 and have spent the past two weeks trying to make up for lost time. Manager Skip Schumacher said after Friday night’s 3-2 Grapefruit League win over the Astros: “They both show they can still play in the big leagues.”
With a full 40-man roster, Miami must make room for Kuriel. A related move would be the transfer of Max Meyer (rehabilitating from Tommy John surgery) to the 60-day disabled list.
Curiel, who turns 39 in June, won a two-time World Series with the Astros, won the AL Gold Glove Award at first base and won the AL batting title in 2021. He went 22-5 with an RBI double and a strikeout. Seven Grapefruit League games, a win in each of his last three.
“can change [Garrett Cooper] As many times as needed in a week. “We see him take some turns sometimes, a day here, a day there, pinch late game,” Ng said. “Guriel, in particular, makes pretty professional transitions and if you need the ball in play, he’s a really good guy to call.”
“He’s a winner,” Schumacher said of Kuriel.
Cooper, an All-Star in 2022, is slated to assume the primary role as first baseman in 2019 after making a career-high 73 plate appearances. But with no other obvious option on the roster, Miami wants to keep Luis Ares at second base.
Iglesias, 33, a right-handed hitter, is a natural shortstop who could serve as a backup to left-handed Joey Wendell. At the plate, Iglesias went 3 for 15 with two doubles, four strikeouts and a walk in seven Grapefruit League appearances.
Wendle has played an infield utility role throughout his seven-year career, but he’s expected to be your everyday shortstop. Schumacher said utility John Bertie “will play some shortstop, maybe more than last year. [10 juegos]”, especially against the hard left.