Dodgers Sign Erisbel Arruebarrena

FEB. 22The deal is now official, the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez tweets.

FEB. 21, 6:51pm: Arrubarrena gets a five year deal for $25MM, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, including a $7.5MM signing bonus.

3:53pm: The deal is for five years, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.

FEB. 20: MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reports that Arruebarrena's deal is believed to be five or six years in length. According to Sanchez, Arruebarrena is working out in the Dominican Republic as he awaits his work Visa. Without the Visa, the contract cannot be finalized, which is why the Dodgers have yet to make an official announcement. GM Ned Colletti did tell Sanchez the following:

"We signed Alexander [Guerrero] and we’re trying to sign another player because it’s tough in the Draft to find those players. You are pretty limited in the Draft as far as good hitters that can play in the middle of the infield. The way we look at it, we have the need for it in our organization and we’ve gone after them the way we have."

FEB. 12, 3:20pm: Arruebarrena's contract could be worth around $25MM, a source tells Rojas (Spanish language link).

12:27pm: The Dodgers have agreed to terms with Cuban shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena, according to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick (Twitter link). Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reported earlier today that the two sides were nearing an agreement, and Arruebarrena was traveling to the United States to take a physical.

The 23-year-old Arruebarrena has six seasons of professional experience in Cuba's Serie Nacional and therefore is not subject to the spending restrictions placed on international amateurs. Arruebarrena is considered an elite defensive shortstop, but most scouts have serious questions about his bat. Though Arruebarrena batted .320/.367/.520 in 306 plate appearances in Cuba from 2011-12, Ben Badler of Baseball America spoke with multiple scouts at the time of his defection and noted that many questioned whether Arruebarrena could manage a .220 average or .300 OBP in the Majors. He's also not a particularly fast player, further limiting his offensive upside. Given all of that info, it's not difficult to see why Arruebarrena has drawn comparisons to fellow Cuban shortstop Jose Iglesias.

Arruebarrena adds to the Dodgers' infield depth, but it's unlikely that he'll be ready to make an immediate impact in the Major Leagues. Badler noted that some minor league time was almost a certainty for Arruebarrena, adding that he could even have to start at the Double-A level due to his questionable offensive skills. Arruebarrena can serve as an insurance policy in the event that the team is unable to reach an extension with Hanley Ramirez. He could also provide an elite in-house option at short (defensively speaking, that is) should Ramirez sign an extension but eventually need to move to third base. Arruebarrena joins Yasiel Puig and Alexander Guerrero as the third notable Cuban signing for the Dodgers in the past two years.



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