Jose Miguel Fernandez has officially signed his contract, per Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times. He reports to camp as a non-roster invitee.
Fernandez, who defected from Cuba at the end of 2015 and became a free agent last April, reportedly agreed to join the Dodgers in early January.
Jose Miguel Fernandez has officially signed with the Dodgers. He is here in camp as a non-roster invitee.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) February 17, 2017
Cuban signing Jose Miguel Fernandez reports to camp as NRI. Infielder has not played in two years and likely will start in Minors.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) February 17, 2017
According to our friend Eric Stephen at SB Nation’s True Blue LA, Fernandez will wear No. 87.
Jose Miguel Fernandez has a locker in Dodgers camp. Will wear No. 87 once he is here. Will be the 23rd non-roster invitee in camp
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) February 17, 2017
Fernandez can play second and third base, but as Gurnick notes, he’ll start in the minors. He hasn’t played organized baseball since October 2014. The 28-year-old is considered a defensive liability by most scouts, but his bat is appealing. In his most recent complete season, Fernandez slashed .326/.482/.456 in 314 plate appearances.
If Fernandez doesn’t work out, no loss. The Dodgers took a small risk with a potentially high reward. The biggest question will be how long it takes Fernandez to shake off the rust and adjust to MLB-caliber pitching.