Erisbel Arruebarrena Rumors
FEB. 22: The 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.
Even though most of Alex Rodriguez's 2014 salary will be wiped out by his season-long PED suspension, the controversial slugger's contract is still ranked as the worst in baseball by Grantland's Jonah Keri. Of Keri's list of the 15 worst contracts in the sport, the Dodgers have four, the Yankees, Angels and Braves each have two and the Reds, Rangers, Phillies, Blue Jays and White Sox have one each.
Here are some items from around the baseball world...
- The Reds and Homer Bailey are "still talking" about a multiyear contract, GM Walt Jocketty tells MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. "There has not been a lot of progress, but good conversations anyhow," Jocketty said. Bailey's arbitration hearing is scheduled for February 20 and there is a $2.9MM gap ($11.6MM to $8.7MM) between his demands and the Reds' offer for a 2014 contract. This is Bailey's last season under contract with Cincinnati and the two sides are reportedly far apart on a long-term deal. Sheldon suggests that the Reds will be watching the Indians' case with Justin Masterson, as he and Bailey have posted comparable numbers over the last three years and Masterson is also scheduled to be a free agent next offseason.
- The Pirates offered A.J. Burnett a $12MM contract for 2014, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link). This obviously fell short of the $16MM Burnett received from the Phillies earlier today.
- The Twins aren't one of the teams interested in Emilio Bonifacio, 1500 ESPN's Darren Wolfson reports (via Twitter). Bonifacio cleared release waivers and became a free agent earlier today. The Orioles are known to be one of at least nine teams interested in the speedy utilityman.
- Also from Wolfson, a Twins official said that the club "had extensive talks" about Erisbel Arruebarruena but he was judged to be too expensive. The Cuban shortstop agreed to a deal with the Dodgers today that could be worth as much as $25MM.
- The Cubs can afford to be patient in trading Jeff Samardzija, Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan argues, as teams may be more willing to meet Chicago's large asking price once the free agent pitching market thins out and teams get more desperate once the season begins.
- Right-hander Josh Roenicke is drawing interest from a "handful of teams" and could be signed soon, a source tells MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo (Twitter link). Roenicke posted a 4.35 ERA, 6.5 K/9 and 1.25 K/BB rate in 62 relief innings with the Twins in 2013 before being outrighted off Minnesota's roster in November.
- Also from Cotillo, right-hander Blake Hawksworth has retired. Hawksworth posted a 4.07 ERA and 1.85 K/BB over 124 games (eight as a starter) with the Cardinals and Dodgers from 2009-11 before elbow and shoulder injuries derailed his career. Hawksworth has taken a job with the Boras Corporation, his former agency.
- Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill discussed the club's recent signing of Carlos Marmol with Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
- Luis Ayala chose to sign a minor league deal with the Nationals since they (as the Expos) were the franchise that originally signed him and he still has many friends in the organization, the veteran reliever tells Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Several teams were linked to Ayala this offseason but the bidding came down to the Nats, Tigers and Phillies.
The Dodgers are nearing an agreement with Cuban shortstop Erisbel Arruebarruena, reports Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes (Spanish link). Arruebarruena, who defected from Cuba last year and established residence in Haiti, is traveling to the United States to take a physical, according to Rojas' source.
The 23-year-old Arruebarruena has six seasons of professional experience in Cuba's Serie Nacional and therefore is not subject to the spending restrictions placed on international amateurs. He is free to sign with any club for any amount.
Arruebarruena is considered an elite defensive shortstop, but most scouts have serious questions about his bat. Though Arruebarruena 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 Arruebarruena 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 Arruebarruena has drawn comparisons to fellow Cuban shortstop Jose Iglesias.
This would mark the third significant Cuban signing for the Dodgers in the past two years, as the team has also inked Yasiel Puig and Alexander Guerrero. The Dodgers appear set in the infield with Juan Uribe, Hanley Ramirez, Guerrero (or Chone Figgins, Dee Gordon or Miguel Rojas) and Adrian Gonzalez. However, a deal for Arruebarruena would likely be made with an eye on the long-term. Badler noted in his write-up that the defensive wizard would almost certainly require some minor league seasoning to hone his offensive skills, possibly having to begin at the Double-A level.
As we wind up one of the busiest weeks in the history of baseball transactions, here are a few more notes as we head into the weekend...
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow is happy to have acquired Dexter Fowler and Scott Feldman before the Winter Meetings, but Luhnow tells reporters (including Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle) that his club has more on its to-do list. “To have them both done before the Winter Meetings is a bonus," Luhnow said. "So now that we can focus on the bullpen and focus on potentially another position player somewhere....We may not be done with starting pitching either. We’re still actively talking to some other folks.”
- With the Phillies reportedly shopping closer Jonathan Papelbon, Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News feels the team will have a tough time given Papelbon's large salary, signs of decline and his possible attitude issues.
- J.A. Happ could be a trade chip for the Blue Jays if the team needed to free up some payroll space, Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith writes. Happ is set to earn $5.2MM in 2014 with a $6.7MM team option for 2015. The southpaw was limited to 18 starts in 2013 due to head injuries suffered when he was hit in the head with a line drive, as well as a knee injury also stemming from the incident.
- Also from Nicholson-Smith, nothing is imminent with Yuniesky Betancourt, though a number of teams are still interested in the veteran as infield depth. The Marlins were linked to Betancourt last month.
- Erisbel Barbaro Arruebarruena has a good glove at shortstop, is lacking at the plate and is overall not going to provide the impact of recent Cuban signings, a scout tells MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. "This isn’t like watching Aroldis Chapman or Yoenis Cespedes. You’re not going to hear from 15 teams. You’ll hear from teams that are hurting a little bit at shortstop," the scout said. Arruebarruena will showcase his skills for teams this weekend, and the Mets have been identified as one of the attending clubs.
Promising Cuban shortstop Erisbel Barbaro Arruebarruena has left his home country to try and sign with a major league team, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. Arruebarruena is known for his tremendously sharp defense at the shortstop position, drawing comparisons to Jose Iglesias in the field.
Arruebarruena, 23, has played in Serie Nacional for six seasons, so his bonus will not be subject to the international bonus pools. MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez tweets that Arruebarruena has established residency in Haiti. He will now need to be cleared to sign by the U.S. government and MLB.
Earlier this year, Baseball America ranked Arruebarruena the No. 10 World Baseball Classic prospect not signed with an MLB team. Badler writes that the shortstop is a below-average runner but he makes up for it with a quick first step and solid instincts that give him good range. Scouts have called Arruebarruena a magician in the field, but he'll have to step things up at the plate.
In related news, Cuban reporter Ibrahim Rojas tells MLBTR that 19-year-old pitcher Javier Gonzalez, 22-year-old pitcher Jorge Hernandez, and 25-year-old outfielder Dayron Varona have left Cuba.