Los Angeles Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten hinted the team was going to add a player and this morning, they’re close to doing that. Kasten spoke at the Dodgers town hall meeting at Dodger Stadium earlier this week and teased the media by not disclosing the name of the player.
After signing infielder Justin Turner, GM Ned Colletti said the team wanted to add a shortstop and according to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes, the Dodgers are closing in on a deal with a Cuban shortstop:
Los Dodgers de Los Angeles y el agente libre cubano Erisbel Arruebarruena están cerca de alcanzar un acuerdo para la firma de un contrato profesional, dijo una fuente aESPNdeportes.com.
Erisbel Arruebarruena is a 23-year-old Cuban shortstop who’s known mostly for his glove. According to MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo, he spoke to a scout in December who said he’s a quality shortstop, but there are real questions about whether or not he can hit. Since he played six seasons with Serie Nacional, he was able to sign a free agent contract and not count against the International Bonus Pool.
This will be the Dodgers fourth Cuban player to go along with Yasiel Puig, Onelki Garcia and Alex Guerrero. While in Cuba, Arruebarruena played on the same team as Puig, Cienfuegos.
In 2009-10, he hit .257/.309/.395 and had a fielding percentage of .977. The following season, he hit .320 with an OPS of .887. Arruebarruena also has experience in the World Baseball Classic as he started at shortstop for the Cuban team and hit .375 in six games. Later that year, he defected and established residency in Haiti before signing a contract with the Dodgers.
According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, here’s what an international scouting director had to say about him:
He’s a premium defender at a premium position with questions on the bat, said one international scouting director. If you’re built well offensively around the field other than shortstop, you can live with that if you get outstanding defense. But the bat is still the question mark.
At the time, it’s unkown if Arruebarruena will join the completion for a spot on the bench or if he’ll spend some time in the minor leagues for some seasoning. It’s clear the Dodgers are committed to adding international talent and it’ll be exciting to see if Arruebarruena can take the next step at the plate.
UPDATE: Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com reports the two sides of agreed to a deal
— MLB (@MLB) February 12, 2014
UPDATE: Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes disclosed some potential contract figures:
La fuente indicó que el contrato podría rondar los $25 millones, aunque no se especificó la duración del contrato y detalles económicos adicionales.
Here are some YouTube videos featuring Arreubarruena
#11 at SS:
One of his at-bats:
More highlights of Arruebarruena