Updated 03:11 PM EST, Tue, Jan 25, 2022

Cuban Baseball Stars the Gurriel Brothers Leave Team for Better Opportunities in the US

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Cuba's baseball stars Yulieski Gurriel and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. deserted their team to pursue opportunities in the United States, according to Cuba's state-run newspaper Granma.

According to the newspaper, as cited by ESPN, the Gurriel brothers left the hotel where their team had been staying early on Monday to embark on a journey to launch their professional careers in Major League Baseball.

Quoting the Cuban media outlet, ESPN described how the two ended up not being in their rooms at the Dominican Republic hotel just after the national team played in the Caribbean Series.

"The paper said on its website Monday morning that the Gourriel brothers had 'abandoned' their hotel in 'an open attitude of surrender to the merchants of professional baseball for profit,'" ESPN reported.

A report from MLB.com cited sources that indicated how the brothers "are not expected to return to the island" anytime soon.

Several reports including one from Reuters saw the move to be significant proof that the Cuban national team is not yet ready to face the big leagues.

This is because the elder Gurriel brother, Yulieski, had been "dominating the Cuban league this season with a .500 batting average, .599 on-base percentage and .874 slugging percentage."

Meanwhile, Lourdes, who is only 22 years old, presents high potential after becoming an outfielder who "was hitting .344/.407/.560 for the Industriales."

Apparently, the Cuban players have low chances of joining the big leagues in MLB after the organization and the Cuban Baseball Federation failed to come to an agreement for the transfer of players due to the recent trade embargo between the Caribbean island and the U.S.

"If there were any hopes of one, the Gurriel family would have been the first to know and the brothers would have waited. This would indicate to me that the Cubans are not yet ready to work any accord with MLB and the defections will continue," Cuban baseball expert Peter Bjarkman told Reuters.

According to STL Today, the Gurriel family has become like royalty in Cuban baseball since their father, Lourdes Gurriel Sr., played.

However, they are not the first to leave for greener pastures and bigger leagues in the U.S. as STL Today estimate that at least 100 Cuban players have made the same move and have become available for the major-league teams.

Furthermore, ESPN estimates double that number during the period of two years.

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