Gurriel Jr. returning to NL champs on 3-year deal

December 22nd, 2023

PHOENIX -- In case you haven’t noticed by now, the D-backs are not fooling around this offseason.

Fresh off their first World Series appearance since 2001, the D-backs have aggressively added players, the latest being their three-year deal to bring back outfielder . The deal, announced on Friday but first reported last weekend, is worth $42 million and includes a $14 million club option for 2027 as well as an opt-out after 2024, a source told’s Mark Feinsand.

The D-backs acquired Gurriel from the Blue Jays last offseason along with catcher Gabriel Moreno in a deal that sent Daulton Varsho to Toronto. Gurriel quickly became a popular figure in the Arizona clubhouse and became a U.S. citizen during the season.

That bond with his teammates was a big factor in his desire to return to the D-backs.

“Honestly, right from the beginning, since my arrival [in Arizona], my family felt very welcome,” Gurriel said. “Just the way everyone in the organization welcomed us and I was just very grateful for all the support that was given to us everything from my citizenship process, to being able to gel and be together with the staff, the coaches and the players. All of that combined just made it the right fit.”

In addition to re-signing Gurriel this offseason, the D-backs have signed left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez to a four-year, $80 million contract and traded for third baseman Eugenio Suárez, who is owed $11 million in 2024 with a club option for 2025 at $15 million or a $2 million buyout.

At the club's press conference to announce the Rodriguez signing, D-backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick said the team was going to have the highest Opening Day payroll in team history.

“Incredible,” Hazen said of the added resources. “It’s what you want. I think Ken and [team president/CEO] Derrick [Hall] have always been consistent with telling us that when we prove that we have a winning team that's going onto the field, that we will have more to invest into the team. I think it’s a fair position to take, and one that was kind of always operated in. We’re very appreciative of that. I hope our players, and I think our players, will be appreciative of that, too.”

Gurriel’s 2023 season with Arizona following a trade from the Blue Jays was another solid campaign in line with his career norms, though his slugging percentage bounced back after a sharp decline in 2022, from .400 to .463.

Following a regular season in which he belted a career-high 24 homers to help the D-backs reach the postseason, the 30-year-old Gurriel helped fuel Arizona’s improbable run all the way to the World Series by hitting .273 with three doubles, three homers, 11 RBIs and two stolen bases in 17 postseason games.

“He was the top target of ours,” Hazen said. “We felt like we needed to continue to add to our outfield and the middle of our lineup, specifically right-handed hitting, so he was a natural fit through all of that. Secondarily, I think what he added to our clubhouse last year, what he does for our players, his makeup, his work ethic, those were major factors in bringing him back.”

Defensively, 2023 was Gurriel’s finest season in the field, with 14 Defensive Runs Saved as a left fielder even though he also served as the D-backs’ designated hitter in 50 games. The ’23 campaign was also the first in which he was named an All-Star.

As he enters his age-30 season, it appears Gurriel is trending in the right direction both offensively and defensively. If he can replicate or even improve upon his 2023 performance, he could prove to be an excellent acquisition, especially if his power numbers come all the way back to where they once were -- from 2019-20, Gurriel slugged .538 with 31 homers in 141 games, but since then, he’s slugged .445.